Eric Ting

On Saturday, Shakespeare fans in England and around the world observed the 400th anniversary of the playwright’s death. And at the California Shakespeare Theater in Orinda, new artistic director Eric Ting is trying to breathe contemporary life into the Bard’s work. An upcoming staging of Othello, for example, reimagines the title character as a modern Muslim man. Ting joins us to celebrate Shakespeare’s enduring legacy and preview the 2016 Cal Shakes season.



California Shakespeare Theater’s New Director on 400 years of the Bard 16 May,2016Michael Krasny

Eric Ting, artistic director for the California Shakespeare Theater

  • Mason Gibb

    Why do contemporary theater companies so often adapt Shakespeare, keeping vaguely to the plot and thoroughly changing the language? For the most part, Shakespeare borrowed and adapted other sources to create arguably unoriginal plots. What makes Shakespeare great are the words, the use of language.
    How can modernizing the language make these lines any better?
    “[…]The sixth age shifts
    Into the lean and slippered pantaloon,
    With spectacles on nose and pouch on side,
    His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide
    For his shrunk shank, and his big manly voice,
    Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
    And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,
    That ends this strange eventful history,
    Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
    Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.”

    • Robert Thomas

      I remember reading along in my mother’s library-bound copy of the Complete Works, to a production I watched on KQED 9 of Measure for Measure, when I was about ten.

      I was horrified to discover that whole sections of the text were omitted!

      This was one of those “life lesson” moments.

      But changing the words? Do productions now do this? Like the way that the leaden, feckless Living Bible jettisons art for the sake of spiritually thirsty simpletons?

  • Robert Thomas

    Much too much is made of the difficulty in understanding Shakespearian language. The difference between the language on the stage and modern language is just not so great, for any attentive person, that it presents any significant barrier for anyone other than those for whom the acme of entertainment is a Michael Bey movie.

  • trite

    Oh Lord! It sounds as though a lot of annoying meddling is going to be the order of the day!

  • karol tulp-magee

    They are lucky to have you. You will be missed.


Michael Krasny

Michael Krasny, PhD, has been in broadcast journalism since 1983. He was with ABC in both radio and television and migrated to public broadcasting in 1993. He has been Professor of English at San Francisco State University and also taught at Stanford, the University of San Francisco and the University of California, as well as in the Fulbright International Institutes. A veteran interviewer for the nationally broadcast City Arts and Lectures, he is the author of a number of books, including “Off Mike: A Memoir of Talk Radio and Literary Life” (Stanford University Press) “Spiritual Envy” (New World); “Sound Ideas” (with M.E. Sokolik/ McGraw-Hill); “Let There Be Laughter” (Harper-Collins) as well as the twenty-four lecture series in DVD, audio and book, “Short Story Masterpieces” (The Teaching Company). He has interviewed many of the world’s leading political, cultural, literary, science and technology figures, as well as major figures from the world of entertainment. He is the recipient of many awards and honors including the S.Y. Agnon Medal for Intellectual Achievement; The Eugene Block Award for Human Rights Journalism; the James Madison Freedom of Information Award; the Excellence in Journalism Award from the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association; Career Achievement Award from the Society of Professional Journalists and an award from the Radio and Television News Directors Association. He holds a B.A. (cum laude) and M.A. from Ohio University and a PhD from the University of Wisconsin.

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