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Playing Shakespeare’s Monarchs and Madmen

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Edited By Louis Fantasia

Playing Shakespeare’s Monarchs and Madmen is the third volume in the Peter Lang series, Playing Shakespeare’s Characters. As in the previous volumes, a broad range of contributors (actors, directors, scholars, educators, etc.) analyze the concepts of monarchy, leadership, melancholy and madness with not only references to Elizabethan and Jacobean studies, but also to Trump, Brexit, cross-gender and multi-cultural casting. What does it mean to “play the king” in the 21st century? What is the role of an “all-licensed” Fool in the age of spin? Who gets to represent the power dynamics in Shakespeare’s plays? This volume looks at the Henrys, Richards, Hamlets, Lears and various other dukes and monarchs and explores the ways in which men—and women—approach these portrayals of power and the lessons they hold for us today.

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2. Shakespeare’s Henry IV: Youth and Veterans (Chris Anthony)

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Chris Anthony

Will Power to Youth is a youth development program founded in Los Angeles in the wake of that city’s 1992 civil unrest. At that time, leaders in both government and the private sector came together to inquire about the needs of urban youth. When asked what they wanted, teenagers from different parts of the city said that they wanted teachers who cared about them and cared about what they were teaching … and they wanted jobs!

Will Power to Youth was jointly created in response to that need by two organizations. The National Conference for Community and Justice (NCCJ—known at that time as the National Conference of Christians and Jews) had several decades of experience creating dialogue across difference. Every summer their Brotherhood/Sisterhood camp had taken a diverse group of young people away from the city, where they could learn the communication tools needed to discuss their experiences concerning different aspects of identity, for example, Race, Gender, Sexuality, Religion, and Immigration. NCCJ partnered with the Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles (SCLA), which, at that time, produced free Shakespeare plays in Downtown Los Angeles. Dani Bedau was an intern at SCLA who had been a teen leader in NCCJ programs. She had the vision to blend the two worlds and the insight to incorporate original dialogue into the process of rehearsing a play.

From its beginning, Will Power to Youth has been a jobs program, translating the work of theatre artists...

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