“Playing Shakespeare” now on Netflix

When I was studying theatre lo those many years ago I remember watching the excellent Playing Shakespeare series hosted by John Barton. It’s a masterclass in Shakespearean interpretation and performance featuring some of the greatest Shakespearean actors ever to tread the boards (Judi Dench, Ben Kingsley, Peggy Ashcroft, Ian McKellen, David Suchet, and Patrick Stewart).

We were shown an episode or two during theatre classes and I checked the rest of the (VHS!) tapes out from the library. The episode I remember most vividly was the one pitting two interpretations of Shylock against each other. Patrick Stewart and David Suchet’s interpretations were so vastly different. And while one might prefer one performance over the other, it’s fascinating to see how differently two great actors approach the same role.

I lost touch with the series (and with VHS tapes) many years ago. But it’s now available on Netflix’s Instant Streaming service. I can’t wait to get reacquainted with this series, and I highly recommend checking it out.

Here’s the link to the Netflix page for Playing Shakespeare.

* Note – This isn’t an ad for Netflix. Just a heads-up about a video series that influenced me greatly when I was a theatre student.

About the author

Craig Mason