Bill Rauch’s Measure for Measure at Oregon Shakespeare Festival with Frankie J. Alvarez (Claudio), Alejandra Escalante (Juliet)  Tyrone Wilson (guard) and Kenajuan Bentley (Lucio).

John Tufts (Romeo) and Christine Albright (Juliet) in Bill Rauch's  Romeo and Juliet

DIRECTING SHAKESPEARE IN AMERICA is  the result of a ten-year study of directors working on Shakespeare. Over the last decade, Charles Ney interviewed  more than 50 artistic directors and directors about their beliefs and craft. In addition, he has researched the history of the most influential American directors of Shakespeare starting with Augustin Daly.  

The first book, Current Practices will be released on February 25, 2016. It consists of advice on all aspects of directing a Shakespearean production. It is presented in the order in which a director works  on a "typical" production. Ney discussed with each director how they handled the nuts and bolts of their work in the various phases of production.  Live interviews allowed Ney to get a feel for each director's personal style and in almost every instance, he was able to view at least one production directed by them.

The second book, Historical Perspectives, examines each director's major productions of Shakespeare as well as their methods  up to the 2000. It will also be published by Bloomsbury's Arden Shakespeare division in 2017.

"I think your role, as an interpretive artist, is to respond to what resonates for you in the script. I think how I would approach Hamlet at 30 would be different than how I would approach directing it at 55 or 60." – Henry Worinicz

"I don’t like work that is dull and safe, where you are getting the laughs that have been achieved in the last five productions of that play. I don’t like formulaic theatre. I don’t think it’s enough to say that we hold a mirror up to the world we live in. I think we actually have to take responsibility for changing what’s done." – Des McAnuff

"One of the great things about Shakespeare is that we don’t know how it was done. We don’t know how it was made… It’s allowed us to come back to him and try to re-imagine. We have to. It’s foolish to think that we can do Shakespeare the way Shakespeare was done. It’s impossible." – Brian Kulick

"My feeling is that if the plays are not alive for contemporary audiences, and they are viewed as museum pieces or a kind of cultural medication, then something is radically wrong."

–Sidney Berger.

"Shakespeare is like a bottomless sea because it always sticks to one’s fingers. It’s exactly when you feel like you caught it, you realize, “Oh! That’s not what it is!”   – Andrei Serban

Charl​es Ney

King Lear directed by Robert Falls with Stacy Keach (Lear) and Edward Gero (Gloucester) at the Goodman Theatre.

Darko Tresjnak's The Tempest​ with Shrine Babb (Ariel) at Hartford Stage. 

Mary Zimmerman's ​Pericles with Ryan Artzberger as Pericles at the Goodman Theatre.

Vilma Silva (Katherina) and Michael Elich (Petruchio) in Kate Buckley's production of Taming of the Shrew

"I dislike very much the language being wrenched out of shape. Because there are simple guidelines that you just follow in speaking. We all follow them whether we know we are following them or not. We’re hitting the verbs. I’m​ hitting them now. There are rules that help. Like playing cards or understanding music." – Mark Lamos

Directors Interviewed:

Ken Albers
Fred Adams
Libby Appel
Sidney Berger
Andre Bishop
Robert Blacker
Timothy Bond
Kate Buckley
Stephen Burdman
Raymond Caldwell
Karen Carpenter
Ann Ciccolella
Ralph Alan Cohen
Kathleen Conlin
Barry Craft
Richard Devon
Timothy Douglas
David Dreyfoos
James Edmondson
David Esbjornson
Oskar Eustis
Robert Falls
David Frank
Barbara Gaines
Christopher Gaze
Michael Halberstam
David Ivers
Michael Kahn
Rebecca Kemper
James Kinstle

John Cullum (Cymbeline), Michael Ceveris  (Leonatus), and Martha Plimpton (Imogen) in Mark Lamos's  Cymbeline

Jessica Kubzanski
Brian Kulick
Mark Lamos
Des McAnuff
Calvin MacLean
Ethan McSweeny
Penny Metropulos
Bonnie Monte
Paul Mullins
John Neville-Andrews
Craig Noel
Tina Packer
Lisa Peterson
R. Scott Phillips
Bill Rauch
Bruce Seavy
Andre Serban
Stephanie Shine
Philip Sneed
Daniel Sullivan
J. R. Sullivan
Fonaine Syer
Kent Thompson
Darko Tresnjak
Jim Warren
Laird Williamson
Susan Willis
Lisa Wolpe
Henry Woronicz
Mary Zimmerman
Joanne Zipay ​

" I think what Shakespeare wrote is so passionate and so shocking. He plumbs the depths of despair, and the heights of joy, and every contour of the human experience. So you better be pushing yourself as an artist to explore the outer reaches of your imagination. You have to be, to match the power of the work, and to dare be worthy of interpreting this work." – Bill Rauch