Podcast Review: The Reduced Shakespeare Company


Note: this is an expanded version of my quick recommendation of various theatre-related podcasts

The Reduced Shakespeare Company Podcast, produced by the Reduced Shakespeare Company and hosted by Austin Tichenor. Released weekly, with an approximate running time of 30 minutes. Started December 2006.

I’ve been a casual fan of the Reduced Shakespeare Company for a while now.

Back in 2002, I was on a committee for the Liberty Performing Arts Theatre to choose a community-based production to be produced for the summer of 2003. One of the plays we had looked at was The Complete Works of Shakespeare (Abridged), which I thought was hilarious (and to this day would love to direct some time), but was not what we were looking for (we were looking for something with an extensive cast with roles for children).

Then, some time after that (long enough to forget reading the script), an e-friend of mine for Christmas gave me the DVD version – totally unaware I had read (and loved) the script, just knowing I had a thing for Shakespeare and theatre and had seen it herself and loved it. And I thought that was the end of it, as I didn’t realize at the time that the company doing it was also a production company.

In August of 2008, The Roving Imp Theater did a production of The Complete History of America (Abridged). Being a fan of Complete Works of Shakespeare (Abridged),” I wrote in my review, “when I heard this show was going up, I was filled with both excitement and trepidation. Excitement, because I’ve been wanting to see another outing by the Reduced Company; trepidation, because I know how comedy in general, and this kind of fast-paced kind of comedy in specific, can go horribly awry in the wrong hands.” I was thankfully impressed by The Roving Imp’s production of the RSC material, but again forgot about the show until last year, when I saw the DVD version by the RSC and as I was watching it being reminded that I had seen it before.

This past summer as I started getting into more into podcasts, I discovered that the RSC had been podcasting since 2006, and quickly downloaded all episodes and started listening to them. They start out relatively short (around 10 to 15 minutes), but as the years progress, they start getting lengthier (but always remaining entertaining).

The weekly podcast is primarily about the RSC’s life on the road, their shows – including the developing of their current production, The Complete World of Sports (Abridged) – and other theatre topics, including interviews with actors, technicians, and various people they encounter as they tour the country. It deals with the proverbial slings and arrows, if you will, of being a touring company and being an actor, writer, and/or director myself (even if for me it’s all voluntary) makes it doubly fun for me.

However, Austin Tichenor, the primary person behind the podcast, is an admitted geek – and so there is also the occasional podcast on geeky topics like Kirk vs. Picard, the definition of geeks versus nerds, and other similar topics. Then, there are topics that are just of interest – interviews with authors, other podcasters, and even a nun.

I finally caught up with all the podcasts last week, and can say that there wasn’t a single podcast that was boring or one I would skip if listened to again, and even have kept all the previous podcasts in case I do want to listen to them again.

You can find out more information about the Reduced Shakespeare Company, including tour dates, where to go to buy the above two DVDs, and – of course – information on their podcast, by going to their website.