Episode 16: Michael Almereyda's Cymbeline

We review Ethan Hawke & Ed Harris's Cymbeline (2014), a movie that wasn't well received when it came out, but may offer interesting insights into the Shakespearean play it adapts. Is it a flat production of a poor play, as many critics said, or a philosophically coherent interpretation of work that offers us surprisingly existential insights into the violence of the modern world? Join Aven, Mark, & John as they work through their reactions to this sometimes perplexing movie.

Episode 12: Zeffirelli's Romeo & Juliet

All four co-hosts convene to discuss the classic Zeffirelli version of Romeo & Juliet, with its young co-stars, beautiful architecture, lush scenery and costuming, and evocative score. Jon, Aven, Mark & John elaborate on the cuts to the text, the emphasis on the political threat of the feuding families, the ridiculousness of considering this a love story to be emulated, and the developments in cinematography and editing evident in this iconic movie.

Episode 11: Kenneth Branagh's Hamlet

After a longer than usual break, we return with a longer than usual movie--and episode! John Kelly joins Aven and Mark to discuss this lavish, star-studded, and unabridged version of Hamlet. What is gained by filming the entire text? How does it enrich our understanding of Hamlet's character -- and does it make us like him more or less? To learn more about John Kelly and his work, visit

Episode 10: Orson Welles's Chimes at Midnight

Aven & Mark are joined by a guest host, John Kelly, to discuss Orson Welles's adaptation of several plays into the story of Falstaff. A stylish, moving, and fascinating piece of cinema, it gives us lots to discuss about the plays, the characters, and the Welles's connection to Falstaff himself. 

Episode 9: Verdi & Zeffirelli's Falstaff

We explore some of the history of opera in our discussion of this filmed version of Franco Zeffirelli's production of Verdi's Falstaff at the Metropolitan Opera. A comic romp with some lovely music and lavish staging, the show provides some interesting insight's into Shakespeare's Merry Wives of Windsor, on which it's based.