Welcome …

Welcome to The Play Podcast where we explore the greatest new and classic plays. Each episode we choose a single play – often one that is on stage somewhere in the UK – and we talk about it in more depth than you will find in the reviews of any one production. We’ll discuss the play’s origins, its themes, characters, structure and impact. For us the play is the thing.

Latest Episode

011 – Beginning, by David Eldridge

011 – Beginning, by David Eldridge

Photo: Johan Persson

In David Eldridge’s wonderful two-hander we eavesdrop on a funny, poignant and potentially life-changing date between two people whose lives have not yet turned out as hope or promised. The playwright himself joins us to share with us where the play came from and review how the date unfolds

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Last Time

010 – Albion, by Mike Bartlett

010 – Albion, by Mike Bartlett

Photo: Marc Brenner

Mike Bartlett’s major new play Albion is a funny and moving portrait of an individual family coping with grief and life’s big challenges, as well as a reflection on issues consuming the nation at the height of the Brexit debate. Joining us to review the reverberations of this rich play are the two leading players in its recent Almeida production: Victoria Hamilton and Nicholas Rowe.

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Recent Episodes

007 – Lungs, by Duncan Macmillan

007 – Lungs, by Duncan Macmillan

Photograph: Helen Maybanks

A young couple navigate the age-old debate of whether or when to embark on having a baby. They are naturally worried about their personal responsibilities, but most topically they are also concerned about the impact that their adding to the global population will have on the world’s climate and future.

Duncan Macmillan’s award-winning play written in 2011, was revived at the Old Vic in 2019 with Claire Foy and Matt Smith conducting the debate. They will shortly reprise their roles via the Old Vic’s innovative in Camera live stream for a limited run from 26th June. Joining us to review the ongoing debate is George Spender, former editorial director at Oberon Books who publish Lungs and the playwright’s other plays.

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006 – Betrayal, by Harold Pinter

006 – Betrayal, by Harold Pinter

Pinter’s modern classic dissects the dynamics of betrayal in marriage, friendship and work. The ambiguities of the adulterous affair that is the core of the play are made all the more unsettling by the innovative chronology of the narrative: the play famously opens with the end of the affair and works backwards to its inception.
Joining us to mine the depths of Pinter’s compressed masterpiece is Mark Taylor-Batty, senior lecturer in Theatre Studies at the University of Leeds and author of The Theatre of Harold Pinter (Bloomsbury 2014).

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005 – The Tempest, by William Shakespeare

005 – The Tempest, by William Shakespeare

Photo © Manuel Harlan

From the dramatic opening shipwreck on an “isle full of noises, sounds and sweet airs”, Shakespeare’s late masterpiece is a magical play. Join us as actor Tim McMullan shares his personal insights from his acclaimed performance as the magician Prospero at the Sam Wanamaker Theatre at the Globe in 2016, just one of Tim’s many outstanding Shakespearean roles.

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004 – The Revlon Girl, by Neil Anthony Docking

004 – The Revlon Girl, by Neil Anthony Docking

Eight months after the disaster that killed 144 people in the Welsh mining village of Aberfan in October 1966, a group of bereaved mothers gather in a local hotel for a demonstration of beauty tips by a rep from the Revlon cosmetics company. The Revlon Girl premiered at the Edinburgh Festival in 2017, followed by a run at the Park Theatre in London, where it won the Off West-End Award for Best New Play. We’re joined by the play’s author, Neil Anthony Docking, to talk about his heartrending and funny play.

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003 – Endgame, by Samuel Beckett

003 – Endgame, by Samuel Beckett

Photo © Manuel Harlan

Following the recent revival at the Old Vic in London starring Daniel Radcliffe and Alan Cumming. we explore the method, meaning and impact of Beckett’s startlingly original play with Beckett expert, Dr Matthew McFrederick, Lecturer in Theatre at the University of Reading.

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Footnotes

The Tempest – Footnotes

The Tempest – Footnotes

These footnotes are a follow-up to our live discussion in episode five of the podcast, including a selection of points from my researches that we didn’t happen to include, as well as follow-up on any facts and questions that came up during our conversation with Tim.

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The Revlon Girl – Footnotes

The Revlon Girl – Footnotes

More in our Footnotes to The Revlon Girl episode on the political aftermath of Aberfan, the Queen’s visit – or rather non-visit, and how the Revlon Girl’s sales patter hits a nerve.

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Endgame – Footnotes

Endgame – Footnotes

More on Samuel Beckett’s love of chess, his friendship with James Joyce, and what he really thought of the Lord Chamberlain in our Endgame Footnotes. Listen to our podcast Addendum, where we talk more about Beckett’s life and the premiere of Waiting for Godot.

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Uncle Vanya – Footnotes

Uncle Vanya – Footnotes

These footnotes to Uncle Vanya are a follow-up to our live discussion in episode two of the podcast, including a selection of points from my researches that we didn’t happen to include, as well as follow-up on any facts and questions that came up during our conversation with Nick.

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A Doll’s House – Footnotes

A Doll’s House – Footnotes

These footnotes to A Doll’s House are a follow-up to our live discussion in episode one of the podcast, including a selection of points from my researches that we didn’t happen to include, as well as follow-up on any facts and questions that came up during our conversation with Dan.

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Recent Posts

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Your host …

I’m Douglas Schatz, founder and presenter of The Play Podcast.

I had the great privilege to work for a number of years as the Managing Director of Samuel French, the renowned play publishers and theatrical licensing agent. I was lucky enough to be able to read plays and go the theatre and call it work. One of the most rewarding parts of my job was the time spent talking in depth with writers, directors, agents, and colleagues about plays. We talked endlessly about plays.

The idea for The Play Podcast is to continue those conversations. To talk in more depth about a play than you will find in the reviews of a single production. To look at the origins of the play, its plot, themes, characters, and structure. To consider it in the context of the playwright’s life and times, its place in the dramatic canon, and its current and enduring relevance.

Each episode focuses on a single play, or perhaps very occasionally two, to talk about for up to an hour with one or more of our expert guests. We will often choose a play that is live on stage somewhere in the UK, which gives us and listeners the added opportunity to see and review a current production. This is not a review show though, because we are interested in the play itself. We want you to enjoy listening whether or not you are able to see a particular production, and whenever you find us.
Please feel free to contact us at plays@theplaypodcast.com with your comments on our conversations, and with suggestions about plays that you recommend that we could explore on the podcast.

You can email us at plays@theplaypodcast.com

Suggest a play

We’re always open to suggestions about plays to talk about, so if you’d like us to discuss a favourite of yours, please email us at plays@theplaypodcast.com. Let us know why you think we should cover it, and if you know anyone who’d be excited and qualified to talk about it with us (even yourself if modesty permits!).

Plays suggested for discussion by our Guests and Listeners - which gets your vote?
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