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SHAKESPEARE UNCOVERED: Macbeth With Ethan Hawke (New Series Premiere)

Performance of Shakespeare Play "Julius Caesar" at the Globe Theatre, Southwark, London, Britain (1999).
Courtesy of Richard Pohle/Rex Features
Performance of Shakespeare Play "Julius Caesar" at the Globe Theatre, Southwark, London, Britain (1999).

Airs Friday, January 25, 2013 at 9 p.m. on KPBS TV

In a unique series of six films debuting on PBS, SHAKESPEARE UNCOVERED combines history, biography, iconic performances, new analysis and the personal passion of its celebrated hosts — Ethan Hawke, Jeremy Irons, Derek Jacobi, Trevor Nunn, Joely Richardson and David Tennant — to tell the story behind the stories of Shakespeare’s greatest plays.

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Ethan Hawke reading Shakespeare.
Courtesy of Tim Pollard
Ethan Hawke reading Shakespeare.

Each episode combines interviews with actors, directors and scholars, along with visits to key locations, clips from some of the most celebrated film and television adaptations, and illustrative excerpts from the plays specially staged for the series at Shakespeare's Globe in London.

"Macbeth With Ethan Hawke" - In the first episode, Ethan Hawke invites viewers on his quest to play Shakespeare’s murderous Thane of Cawdor by researching the true story and real-life events that served as the play’s inspiration.

Historian Justin Champion visits the actual Scottish sites of the story on Hawke’s behalf, introducing him to Dunsinane, where Macbeth supposedly lived, and to the history books that distorted the true story and consequently led Shakespeare to do the same.

Immersing himself in some of the most memorable and innovative productions of “the Scottish Play,” Hawke gleans extraordinary insights into Shakespeare’s understanding of the criminal mind.

Lady Macbeth’s relationship to the titular Thane is a critical role in the play and is examined by observing Shakespeare’s Globe actors rehearsing and performing scenes from the play, and by revisiting recent productions starring Patrick Stewart and Antony Sher.

Video clips and past episodes from this series are available for online viewing.


"The Comedies With Joely Richardson" airs Friday, February 1 at 9 p.m.

"Richard II With Derek Jacobi" airs Friday, February 8 at 9 p.m.

"Henry IV & Henry V With Jeremy Irons" airs Friday, February 15 at 9 p.m.

"Hamlet With David Tennant" airs Friday, February 22 at 9 p.m.

"The Tempest With Trevor Nunn" airs Friday, March 1 at 9 p.m.

Explore all national, state and local returns now.