The Rough Stuff
While it's eminently possible to make the argument that Shakespeare's plays are timeless and perpetually relevant works, they are also unavoidably a product of their times. From casual to pointed, background to plot point, these works contain anti-Blackness, sexism and misogyny, classism, antisemitism, and ableist and colonialist themes.
We can argue until the nightingales are replaced by larks about whether or not these things were intended as commentary on Elizabethan society or were genuinely held biases by the author or bits of both, but we believe we can't (and shouldn't) argue about whether or not these things are present. And we believe we can't (and shouldn't) ignore them, gloss over them, or explain them away instead of engaging.
To this end, our dramaturgical discourse is two-fold: our discussions are both about the context of the laws and social mores of the Elizabethan era—what Shakespeare would have been illustrating and challenging in his own time—and through the lens of modern post-colonial queer, feminist, and critical race and disability theory.
These are often challenging discussions, but we believe them to be essential to modern performance of the work, and to the development of our own understandings of the world we live in today. We believe performing and engaging critically with Shakespeare's writing can help us to see the ways in which our society has changed, and the ways in which it still struggles with the same pervasive issues.