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ENCORES: “Play, Music!” with Brian Kay (2017)

Folger Public Programs is pleased to present ENCORES, a weekly online series highlighting past performances and recalling the rich history of programming on the historic Folger stage. ENCORES provides a way to connect and revisit the breadth of Folger offerings with a wider audience and we’re thrilled to be able to share them with you.


ENCORES presents

A selection from
Free Folger Friday: “Play, Music!”: An evening of songs from Shakespeare’s plays 
delivered by Brian Kay
October 7, 2016
Read about the event on Folgerpedia

To hear the full lecture, visit us on SoundCloud.

This talk was presented as part of the humanities programs surrounding the Folger Theatre production of As You Like ItYou can watch a clip from that production in a previous Folger ENCORES.

Read the introduction by musician Brian Kay:

Hello everyone, and welcome to Folger ENCORES. I’m Brian Kay, and I’m delighted to be here with you today. In this series, the Folger has been sharing with you excerpts from various performances that have taken place throughout the years at the theater, and in this next clip I’m giving a demonstration, talk, and performance of the music and the instruments that would have been used in Shakespeare’s plays within his lifetime.

So these are songs that Shakespeare had in mind when he wrote musical interludes into his plays, and his audience would have also known these songs and related to them, and understood the deeper context. So they added depth and meaning to these various scenes in his plays. So the song you’ll hear is called “O, Sweet Oliver,” and it is referenced in the play As You Like It, and as I said before, the audience would have really understood what this song was about, and it would have gotten a chuckle out of them.

But many modern audiences aren’t familiar with the song, and it’s a dialogue song between two people, so you’ll hear that I split the audience in half and have one side saying one person’s lines and the other side seeing the other person’s lines. So you’re welcome to join along and sing. The language is pretty simple, and there’s only one verse.

So I just want to thank you so much for tuning in and look forward to more Folger ENCORES from this weekly series. Thanks very much.


Encores LogoCheck back each Friday for a new “from the archives” performance, introduced by some of our favorite artists, showcasing the best of Folger TheatreFolger ConsortO.B. Hardison Poetry, and lectures.

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