re-released episode of Twenty Thousand Hertz. “I hope people walk away feeling like they’ve been introduced to powerful young voices in theater,” Holland said. “That’s great,” Ali said. In one scene, when Richard returns to England after war, he presses his head to the earth and whispers lovingly to the land. The first day of rehearsal started with a virtual town hall. There were several solid performances: Phylicia Rashad, as the grieving Duchess of Gloucester, revealing an almost physical grief; Dakin Matthews, chewing on John of Gaunt’s meaty dying speech; and Jacob Ming-Trent, with the arresting energy of a preacher at a pulpit as Carlisle. As Surrey, he trilled his tongue daringly as he threw down a gage; as a gossiping gardener, he exclaimed a comical “Whaaaaaaaat? Yes, the story’s knotty, but the production could fully stand on its own two feet without all of this didacticism. “You can simply insert narration clarifying the stakes.” (Enter Lupita Nyong’o, who recorded that narration.). Gimlet’s podcasts always boast high production values and Heavyweight is no exception, but the rawness and intimacy of the check-ins makes them by far the most accessible of the episodes so far. Hannah Verdier. Holland said in a phone interview last week that Richard’s final-act soliloquy, in which he reflects on his own humanity, had been building inside him for years, and that, as a Black man, he needed to speak it. Plus: Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman is an all-star thriller, Hannah J Davies, It’s a jungle of context, enough to get lost in. “There’s so much you can do,” said André Holland (here in his home town of Bessemer, Ala.) of recording Shakespeare for radio. Available on wnycstudios.org, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Play, Stitcher and other audio streaming services. Think you the King shall be deposed?”. “So we were just like, ‘OK, it’s pouring in this scene now.’”. But I am glad I got to hear this king — and queens and dukes — pronouncing and prattling in my ear, regaling me in the comfort of my home. “My nightmare is for someone to listen to this and think it sounds old-fashioned,” he said. On the list of questions you’ve probably never considered is how to describe what spitting sounds like. Because one voice for multiple characters could be confusing on the air, the production expanded its cast from the original Central Park plan, hiring a total of 26 performers rather than opting for customary doubling of roles like Gaunt and the gardener. “They invite the audience to see a Black man becoming more vulnerable with himself.”, Ali explored how he could use auditory cues to make Shakespeare’s at times archaic text resonate in a modern setting. Plus: Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman is … Heavyweight turns from reconciliation-matchmaker show to lockdown-soother in the latest series of special check-ins. But two months later, the theater announced that “Richard II” would go on as a radio play with a majority of the Central Park cast intact. Sometimes her voice swelled rhythmically; at other times, she slung her words like an attack, dynamically stretching her syllables. Indecisive and amenable to the whims of his buddies, he is approached to be an arbiter in the fiery dispute between two dukes, one of whom is his cousin, Henry Bolingbroke. André Holland during rehearsals for the Public Theater’s radio presentation of “Richard II. Ali on a Zoom rehearsal for the play, which was originally going to be his Shakespeare in the Park directing debut. Holland smiled. “I’ve been chomping at the bit to say those words for so long,” he said. And, as they tell Leah, you might feel all the better for it. But the rumbling you’ll hear in the background isn’t of the producers’ creation like the tanks and helicopters. “I hope the industry will be excited to hire them.”, And his director now believes the format turned out to be the right one. That was the challenge facing the director Saheem Ali in late June, during a Zoom recording session for the Public Theater’s four-part radio play of “Richard II.”. Presenter Jonathan Goldstein and his two producers – and occasionally his son Ogie, who has featured since he was a baby – reflect on the trials and tribulations of a life lived temporarily indoors. Sean Carvajal, in one of the more idiosyncratic performances, wore his Shakespeare like a pair of comfortable sweats, almost subversively contemporary. For his part, Holland said the biggest challenge of his first audio experience wasn’t the limits of the format, but the possibilities. “I can’t wait for you all to hear it.”, The Public, like most nonprofit theaters, is in a precarious financial position because of the pandemic. The pandemic prompted the Public to cancel its summer festival, and it looked like Shakespeare fans were out of luck. Footsteps echoing on the palace floor, crowds cheering in the distance — all provided dimension and made the actors, themselves groaning and grunting and sighing, sound remarkably present. “It wasn’t like we could turn the rain off,” said Matt Collette, a WNYC executive producer. All rights reserved. Ali beefed up the stage directions with Lupita Nyong’o as narrator, delivering not just the setting but a SparkNotes-like summary of what was to follow (“Think of this as a murder mystery,” she began). The answer offered by the cast and the director, Saheem Ali, was to read the trials of Black Americans in the struggles of Bolingbroke, having been robbed of his birthright, and the recent protests for racial justice in the uprising against Richard. If you’ve caught Hamilton fever courtesy of Disney+, why not tune into a re-released episode of Twenty Thousand Hertz to hear how the show’s soundscape drives the Broadway smash hit. (The serialized episodes, accompanied by interviews, will air nightly July 13-16 at 8 p.m. Eastern time on WNYC. The actors had to be their own technicians, responsible for checking battery levels before recording sessions. It’s a poorly timed thunderstorm. Holland, he said, had a particularly strong grasp of how to imbue his voice with emotion. Here it’s as if you were hearing Holland speak his sweet nothings in your ear, so intimate you could almost feel his breath against your cheek. They were helpful and interesting, but only to a point. In many ways the play works like a protracted chess game: The pieces are arranged on the squares early, and the first moves foreshadow the final turn and checkmate. De Silva obliged with a pointed ejection, followed by a wracking hack. But the mostly Black cast, led by a suave André Holland in the title role, delivered electric performances, spotlighting the aural delights of Shakespeare’s language. On the last full day of recording, Reza Salazar, who plays the Welsh captain in charge of an army loyal to King Richard, was reading the scene in which he wonders about the king’s whereabouts when the latter hasn’t yet returned from Ireland. But Ali wanted options. Doing the play for radio turned out to be an unexpected benefit for actors of color at a time when gigs have dried up. Yet he enjoyed the challenge of telling a story solely through speech and sound effects. Alabama native Andre Holland will takes to the airwaves this summer, starring in a radio version of Shakespeare’s “Richard II.”. He hardly had a wealth of “Richard II” productions to consult. How André Holland and Company Brought ‘Richard II’ to Radio What was meant to have opened Shakespeare in the Park’s season has found new … led by a suave André Holland in the title role. “Will no man say ‘Amen’?” he finally followed, so meekly it was shattering. Ali said he encouraged the actors to put their stamp on their roles by speaking their lines in whatever way felt contemporary to them — which he said was very different for the 92-year-old Estelle Parsons and the 8-year-old Ja’Siah Young.

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