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These informal, online conversations will investigate approaches to essential passages from the Shakespearean and Jacobean canon―and beyond.

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Monday, July 13, 2020

On Monday, July 13, two-time Tony winner STEPHEN SPINELLA joins the Podversation to discuss his approach to text and the character of the great melancholic enigma Jacques from Shakespeare's As You Like It. He’ll read passages from the play and discuss his thoughts on the text and character in Shakespeare with host NATHAN WINKELSTEIN. They’ll take questions through Facebook LIVE and YouTube.

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As You Like It | Act II, Scene VII                    



All the world's a stage,

And all the men and women merely players;

They have their exits and their entrances,

And one man in his time plays many parts,

His acts being seven ages. At first, the infant,

Mewling and puking in the nurse's arms.

Then the whining schoolboy, with his satchel

And shining morning face, creeping like snail

Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,

Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad

Made to his mistress' eyebrow. Then a soldier,

Full of strange oaths and bearded like the pard,

Jealous in honor, sudden and quick in quarrel,

Seeking the bubble reputation

Even in the cannon's mouth. And then the justice,

In fair round belly with good capon lined,

With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,

Full of wise saws and modern instances;

And so he plays his part. 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.


As You Like It | Act 4, Scene 1



I prithee, pretty youth, let me be better acquainted

with thee.


They say you are a melancholy fellow.


I am so; I do love it better than laughing.



Those that are in extremity of either are abominable

fellows and betray themselves to every modern

censure worse than drunkards.



Why, 'tis good to be sad and say nothing.



Why then, 'tis good to be a post.


I have neither the scholar's melancholy, which is

emulation, nor the musician's, which is fantastical,

nor the courtier's, which is proud, nor the

soldier's, which is ambitious, nor the lawyer's,

which is politic, nor the lady's, which is nice, nor

the lover's, which is all these: but it is a

melancholy of mine own, compounded of many simples,

extracted from many objects, and indeed the sundry's

contemplation of my travels, in which my often

rumination wraps me in a most humorous sadness.


A traveller! By my faith, you have great reason to

be sad: I fear you have sold your own lands to see

other men's; then, to have seen much and to have

nothing, is to have rich eyes and poor hands.



Yes, I have gained my experience.



And your experience makes you sad: I had rather have

a fool to make me merry than experience to make me

sad; and to travel for it too!

STEPHEN SPINELLA  won two Tony and Drama Desk Awards for the original Broadway productions of Tony Kushner’s epic Angels in America plays, which marked his Broadway debut. Mr. Spinella has since starred on Broadway in the Tony Award-winning musical Spring Awakening; revivals of A View from the Bridge, Electra, and Our Town (with Paul Newman); and James Joyce’s The Dead, for which he won a third Drama Desk Award, as well as an Outer Critics Circle Award, and was again a Tony nominee. He was in The Velocity of Autumn, co-starring Estelle Parsons in 2014 and is currently a cast member of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Off-Broadway Mr. Spinella won an Obie in Love! Valour! Compassion!  He also appeared in An Iliad (Lucile Lortell and Obie awards); alongside Meryl Streep in The Seagull directed by Mike Nichols; and in Tony Kushner’s The Intelligent Homosexual’s Guide to Capitalism and Socialism with a Key to the Scriptures. With Red Bull he worked under the direction of Jesse Berger in Volpone and in 2016 he was in Michael Sexton’s critically acclaimed production of Coriolanus.Among his feature film credits: Alfonso Cuaron’s “Great Expectations”; Tim Robbins’ “Cradle Will Rock”; Gus Van Zant’s award winning “Milk”; Quentin Dupieux’s cult hit “Rubber”, and Steven Spielberg’s “Lincoln”. More recently he was in “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” with Melissa Macarthy and this year’s “Bad Education” with Hugh Jackman. Mr. Spinella has guest-starred on “Will and Grace”, “Frasier”, “Heroes”, “Grey’s Anatomy”, “Nip/Tuck”, and “Alias”. He’s had recurring roles on “The Education of Max Bickford”, “24”, “Desperate Housewives”, “Royal Pains” and Steven Soderbergh’s “The Knick”.
NATHAN WINKELSTEIN has been with Red Bull Theater for three years, serving as Producing Director of The Revelation Reading Series, Education Director of Shakespeare in Schools and the Masterclass offerings. He also serves as a literary and casting associate for Red Bull. Nathan is also the NY Casting Associate for American Shakespeare Center. He has acted or directed for numerous companies around the country and in the UK, including Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, Shakespeare Theater Company, W.H.A.T., LCT, The Folger, The Tobacco Factory, American Shakespeare Center and others. Nathan has taught for Red Bull, STC, LCT, WHAT, TGS and Shakespeare Forum; he also provides private acting coaching in NYC. Nathan received his BA in Theater from the University at Buffalo and his MFA in Classical Acting from the prestigious Bristol Old Vic Theatre School in the UK. Nathan is a proud member of Actors Equity.
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