Shakespeare Fellowship board members Bonner Miller Cutting and Tom Regnier have been featured on Jennifer Newton’s new podcast website, Shakespeare Underground. Newton describes her site as a podcast series that examines the works and life of William Shakespeare, and explores why there has been doubt about the authorship of the plays, sonnets, and other poetry. The site launched this fall and the first episode featured Newman’s interview with Bonner Miller Cutting discussing Cutting’s research into Elizabethan wills, titled “Where There’s a Will.”
Newton’s second episode features an 84-minute interview with attorney Tom Regnier titled “The Law in Hamlet”. Regnier said, “I talk about the authorship question and the law in Shakespeare generally, but mostly I focus on the law in Hamlet — homicide law, inheritance law, ecclesiastical law, etc., and I relate them to Oxford’s life.”
A third episode titled “Midsummer Monsieur: The French Court in Shakespeare” featuring an interview with Shakespeare Fellowship president Earl Showerman is currently under production. “My talk with Jennifer is on political allegory in Shakespeare and especially in A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” Showerman said. “We may have a bit more recording to do before it is ready for broadcasting. She is doing a great job.”
Newton is preparing an article on her project for the winter edition of the Shakespeare Fellowship’s newsletter Shakespeare Matters, and she agreed to give us a preview here:
The podcast will be an outlet for Shakespeare scholarship that doesn’t presuppose the authorship of William Shaksper from Stratford, and therefore isn’t constrained by the limitations of his timeline, experiences, or resources. The format is interview-based, featuring one speaker per episode talking on a particular theme they have studied which illuminates our understanding of the works, the author, or the era. My aim is for the podcast to be accessible to people with limited or no prior knowledge of the authorship debate, and I hope it will be entertaining for anyone with a general interest in Shakespeare and the period. It exists to support the ongoing work of independent scholars, and the efforts of the authorship societies, journals, and conferences.
Newton is convinced of the benefits of podcasting for sharing Shakespeare authorship content. She said:
- [Podcasting] is eyes- and hands-free. Ideal for busy people (pretty much all of us), and for those who feel months behind on their reading list. You can listen while commuting, doing the dishes, exercising, whatever.
- With iTunes, the episodes are accessible to a global audience and stay available indefinitely. They can be located by keyword searches — an authorship inquiry can show up right next to a Folger podcast (similar to Amazon, visibility depends upon popularity, determined by ratings/reviews and number of subscribers).
- Podcasts are a no-commitment way to sample a potential interest. They are free, and can be downloaded and discarded with ease, making them an appealing way to dip a toe into an area of curiosity.
“The authorship question has been a subject that has fascinated me for many years,” Newton said. “I enjoy exploring technology and its potential for communicating ideas. This is my first foray into podcasting.”
Newton lives in Seattle where her occupation is digitizing & restoring old media. She is also active in nonprofit arts administration. Jennifer Newton may be contacted by emailing jennifer at theshakespeareunderground.com.
For a basic description of podcasting, see: http://sbinfocanada.about.com/od/onlinebusiness/g/podcasting.htm
Note: Both Bonner Cutting and Tom Regnier have authored articles in the forthcoming journalBrief Chronicles III, and Regnier’s article “Could Shakespeare Think Like a Lawyer? How Inheritance Law Issues in Hamlet May Shed Light on the Authorship Question” published in the University of Miami Law Review, Vol. 57, January 2003 is available on the Shakespeare Fellowship website, here.