Who: Ron Cephas Jones, Eisa Davis, William Jackson Harper, Raúl Esparza, Jill Lepore, Michael Sexton, Ayanna Thompson, Stephen Greenblatt, Philip Lorenz
What: Digital Shakespeare program
Where: Brooklyn Public Library and the Public Theater
When: Sunday, November 22, free with RSVP, 7:00; Thursday, December 3, free with RSVP, 7:00; Thursday, December 17, free with RSVP, 7:00
Why: Shakespeare readings and discussions have multiplied during the pandemic, with actors and scholars presenting impassioned soliloquies online, followed by fascinating talks about the legacy of the Bard, particularly in this time of Covid-19, isolation, and social and political unrest; Red Bull Theater’s RemarkaBULL Podversations have been especially enlightening, highlighted by scintillating episodes with Chukwudi Iwuji and Patrick Page. Now the Brooklyn Public Library and the Public Theater have teamed up for a free three-part digital voyage into Shakespeare, kicking off November 22 at 7:00 with “A Thousand Dreadful Things: Shakespeare and the Fear of Black Vengeance,” an exploration of Aaron the Moor from Titus Andronicus, with Ron Cephas Jones, who played Aaron at the Public in 2011, William Jackson Harper, and Public Theater Shakespeare scholar in residence Ayanna Thompson, author of Passing Strange: Shakespeare, Race, and Contemporary America. On December 3 at 7:00, “What Is the City but the People? Shakespeare, Art, and Citizenship” features Pulitzer Prize-winning profession Stephen Greenblatt, author of Tyrant: Shakespeare on Politics, and actor and playwright Eisa Davis looking at modern democracy; and on December 17 at 7:00, “Two Monsters of Nature: Lope de Vega and William Shakespeare” links the theater of Lope de Vega and Shakespeare, with readings in Spanish and English by Tony winner Raúl Esparza and commentary by Cornell professor of comparative language Philip Lorenz. All three programs will be moderated by Public Theater Shakespeare Initiative director Michael Sexton and are free with RSVP.