Once you are introduced to the world of Shakespeare, it gets you right in the very solar plexus of your life.
William Shakespeare started writing plays in an era when popular theater was exploding and cementing its place in culture. Audiences spanned economic classes, professions and educational backgrounds, and he was keenly aware of the need to write for all attendees. He frequently wrestled with topics that retain relevance for society across centuries, such as power struggles, relationships, politics, and love. Not only are Shakespeare’s plays still performed constantly, but his storylines and themes are also frequently borrowed for contemporary entertainment. The Scottish actor Brian Cox has performed classic Shakespeare roles, including King Lear, hundreds of times on stage. Most recently he played the iconic patriarch Logan Roy on HBO’s “Succession,” a modern King Lear story. Simon Godwin, the artistic director of the Shakespeare Theater Company in Washington, D.C., is tasked with keeping Shakespeare’s work fresh with every new season and reaching a broad cross-section of audience members. Both joined entertainment leader and former Disney CEO Michael Eisner for a conversation at the festival about Shakepeare’s timeless messages and storylines.