Daily Archives: July 11, 2009

Alan Navarre: Oxfordian playwright

This interview appears in the June 2009 issue of the Shakespeare-Oxford Newsletter.

The Crown Signature, a play in three acts, by Alan Navarre, was published in April by New Theatre Publications of Cheshire, England. Navarre is a playwright and screenwriter who lives in San Luis Obispo, California.

SOS: Has the attention given the authorship debate by the Wall Street Journal April 18 coverage of Oxfordians Justice John Paul Stevens and Justice Antonin Scalia boosted interest in your play?

Navarre: Yes, I hope the eminent justices’ opinions will boost Oxfordian momentum and swing the doors wide open for the play and film projects.

SOS: What prompted you to write The Crown Signature?

Navarre: Someone had to answer the historical distortionist plays and film trends. I was particularly irritated by Shekhar Kapur — the director of Elizabeth, the 1998 film starring Cate Blanchett — saying he hates history. Is that surreal? That’s when I picked up the gauntlet.

SOS: Do you think that movies should be historically accurate?

Navarre: Hollywood says it must make only films that sell, whereas the logical inference is Hollywood makes only films it wants the public to buy. But I feel in the current zeitgeist people are rejecting the “programming” of traditional media and are rediscovering critical thinking.

SOS: Does that mean you’ll make money?

Navarre: Well, a long Broadway or London West End run may pay a playwright relatively well, especially if Ms. Blanchett is starring in The Crown Signature! But there’s plenty of star power for a film and for as many stage productions as the world will bear.

SOS: Is anyone going to buy your version of historical accuracy?

Navarre: I’m encouraged by the digging and discovering that’s ongoing in all areas of the authorship debate. I’ve had excellent correspondence from Robert Brazil and W. Ron Hess on the scholarly status of the autograph, for which I’m infinitely grateful.

SOS: Which interpretation of de Vere’s signature does your play deliver?

Navarre: It isn’t meant to promote an interpretation. My great hope is that Horace’s principle will obtain, dulce et utile, both delighting audiences and raising consciousness.

SOS: Are you a proponent of the Edward VII theory of the crown signature?

Navarre: Seeing through a glass darkly to the latter 1500s and concluding an absolute no or yes to any signature theory may be unwarranted. The truth of the past is our challenge to decipher. We’re bound by the duty of de mortuis nihil nisi bonum — one breaches that duty to one’s peril. As for the tournaments scoring nomenclature theory I wonder that someone of Edward Oxenford’s urbanity would dabble with these jots and tittles in connection with his name to remind the Cecils of his rank. Even Oxfordian scholars who prefer this interpretation admit there’s no evidence beyond a shadow of a doubt to prove what Oxford intended by the embellishment. Historically theoretically I would rather appeal to Carolly Erickson’s inference: “Elizabeth . . . it was said, was seducing handsome young men. . . . Prominent among these favorites was Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford. . . . Oxford excelled at those courtly graces Elizabeth admired. . . . He was . . . the ideal partner for the queen (The First Elizabeth 267).”

The play opens with this prologue:

The play is based on letters and other documentation of Edward de Vere 17th Earl of Oxford, Queen Elizabeth I of England, plays and poetry of William Shake-speare, and such of other pertinent historical persons and events. It is intended that the spirit of the history portrayed is accurate and that historical facts are not distorted. Notwithstanding, the play can merely present an inferential account of the distant past.

And the leading tag line I hope will read: “Will the real Shakespeare and Elizabeth please stand up!”

Also published by New Theatre Publications, Navarre’s play The Devil’s Chaplain will premier in November 2009 at San Luis Obispo Little Theatre, in California. Navarre’s screenplay Draft Pick is under option by Flashlight Productions, London. His several years in software development culminated in an invention, for which a U.S. patent is pending. He is currently writing and marketing several plays and screenplays, as well as attending the San Luis Obispo School of Law partly in an effort to understand the mind of the Shakespeare canon’s author.

The Crown Signature by Alan Navarre
Full-length play, in three acts; running time: 2 hrs
Cast: five males, three females; supernumeraries, if available
Licensing fee: £35 per performance; theatres greater than 300 seats contact agent for fee:
New Theatre Publications:
http://www.plays4theatre.com
email: plays4theatre@ntlworld.com
tel: 0845 331 3516
fax: 0845 331 3518
Book fee: £6
Synopsis of the Play: The life of Edward de Vere, Seventeenth Earl of Oxford, populates many situations in the Shakespeare canon, while Oxford’s education, social experience, and early plays and poetry evince the potential genius of the later works. The Crown Signature investigates Oxford’s authorship connection in the light of his mysterious signing of documents and letters with flourishes designating seven crowns, implying King Edward the Seventh. Any pretension to such an act and the signer would have lost his head. Why had Queen Elizabeth allowed this? Oxford stopped using his crown signature immediately after Elizabeth’s death.

Letter from SOS President, Matthew Cossolotto

This letter appears in the June 2009 issue of the Shakespeare-Oxford Newsletter.

April 2009 may well be remembered ages and ages hence — hopefully sooner — as something of a watershed month in the Shakespeare authorship mystery. With apologies to Robert Frost, the prophesy of this slightly edited stanza from “The Road Not Taken” may indeed come to pass:

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two birthdays diverged in a month, and I—
I took the one less toasted by,
And that has made all the difference.

Those of us who have not taken what appears to be a dead-end road to Stratford-upon-Avon, should be heartened by several developments around April 2009. These developments put both the authorship question and the case for Oxford on the map in a big way.

We just might be seeing some big mo — as in momentum — for the Big O.

The alleged birthday of William Shakespeare is celebrated around the world on April 23. Many media outlets in many countries routinely run a “Happy Birthday Will” story. We know this is going to happen every year and we should do what we can each April to raise the authorship issue and encourage consideration of the Oxford theory.

Again this April, SOS issued a press release about the bogus “Shakespeare” birthday. Here’s a link to the press release, which was posted on our new SOS blog: “Toast But Verify”

As readers of this newsletter know, Edward de Vere’s birthday happens to fall in April 12. That means when Oxford is finally recognized as the real author behind the Shakespeare works people will continue to celebrate Shakespeare’s birthday in April.

Two birthdays diverged in a month, and we have celebrated the one less toasted; but this will change.

This year something unexpected happened a few days before the annual April 23 birthday celebration in Stratford-upon-Avon. It’s fair to say that the annual Bard B-Day Bash was marred somewhat by an unwelcome — from the Stratfordian viewpoint – reminder that all is not quiet on the Shakespeare authorship front.

I refer to the front-page story in the Wall Street Journal, April 18, 2009, to a jarring headline for those of the Stratfordian persuasion: “Justice Stevens Renders an Opinion on Who Wrote Shakespeare’s Plays: It Wasn’t the Bard of Avon, He Says; ‘Evidence Is Beyond a Reasonable Doubt’”

How refreshing to see those powerful words in print, on the front page of the Wall Street Journal. The evidence against the Stratfordian theory “. . . is beyond a reasonable doubt.”

Worth noting: Justice Antonin Scalia declared publicly that he, like Stevens, is an Oxfordian! It is interesting that Stevens and Scalia, whose opinions on most legal issues diverge significantly, find themselves in agreement on the case for Oxford.

If you missed the WSJ article, it’s well worth a careful reading. Please visit the News & Events page on the SOS website or go directly to the WSJ.

Here’s a quick rundown of other recent developments that may be seen one day as part of a major turning point in the authorship debate:

Article in the UK’s Evening Standard, April 23, 2009:
“Shakespeare did not write his own plays, claims Sir Derek Jacobi.” Both Sir Derek and Mark Rylance are referred to as signatories of the Declaration of Reasonable Doubt. The article says both Shakespearean actors believe Shakespeare’s works were written by an aristocrat. Sir Derek said he was 99.9 percent certain that the actual author was Edward de Vere.

Shakespeare Authorship Coalition marks second anniversary of the Declaration of Reasonable Doubt about the Identity of William Shakespeare. SAC issues April 13, 2009 press release announcing: Michael York has joined fellow actors as a Shakespeare Authorship Coalition (SAC) Patron; Seven signatories added to SAC notables list.

The thirteenth annual Shakespeare Authorship Studies Conference is held at Concordia University April 16-19, 2009. For a detailed account of the conference, see Richard Joyrich’s article in this newsletter. I also found Bill Boyle’s blog, Shakespeare Adventure, entries on the conference very informative.

Oberon Shakespeare Study Group in Michigan celebrates Shakespeare’s UN-Birthday on April 23. Visit the Oberon group’s blog for details.

Lee Rosenbaum, a blogger known as CultureGrrl, outs herself as an Oxfordian –she calls herself a deVere-ian. I found her discussion on her blog to be very interesting, especially her suggestion that “Shakespeare” was de Vere’s alter ego in the sonnets. I’ve been kicking that idea around for sometime myself.

A few authorship-related blogs have been launched recently – in and around April 2009: Visit Stephanie Hopkins Hughes’s Politic Worm; Robert Brazil’s 1609 Chronology blog. Also, I’m in the early stages of developing a blog dedicated to the relatively narrow –but extremely important — hypothesis that the 1609 volume of Shakespeare’s Sonnets was published posthumously. Please visit Shakespeare’s Sonnets 1609 to offer comments and share ideas.

May 3 article in the UK’s Sunday Express — now removed from their website – included several comments that Kenneth Branagh is reported to have made in Los Angeles at the April 29 US premiere of the new PBS mystery series Wallander. Branagh is reported to have said:

There is room for reasonable doubt. De Vere is the latest and the hottest candidate. There is a convincing argument that only a nobleman like him could write of exotic settings.

A version of the report can be viewed at Top News.

So there seems to be some big mo for the Big O right now. We need to seize the public awareness initiative and build on the recent momentum. I strongly encourage members of the society to widely circulate the WSJ and Evening Standard articles to friends, relatives, media contacts, teachers, professors, clergy, neighbors and members of congress. These articles lend enormous credibility to our central messages: that the authorship question is a legitimate issue for serious discussion and the case for Oxford’s authorship is very persuasive.

As always, thank you for your ongoing support as we endeavor to fulfill our mission of researching and honoring the true Bard.

Matthew Cossolotto, President
Shakespeare-Oxford Society
June 2009 Shakespeare Oxford Newsletter

Shakespeare Oxford Newsletter out

A new issue of the quarterly Shakespeare Oxford Newsletter has been published thanks to the work of many fine writers and skilled editors including former editor Lew Tate, the entire Shakespeare-Oxford Society Publications Committee: Chairman John Hamill, Katherine Chiljan, Richard Smiley, Ramon Jimenez, Frank Davis, Brian Bechtold and Jim Brooks, and to Richard Whalen and all the Oxfordians whose generosity inspired this effort.

In this space we will preview the current newsletter with a letter from SOS President Matthew Cossolotto and an interview with playwright Alan Navarre. Other articles in the current issue include:
a report of the thirteenth Shakespeare Authorship Studies Conference by Richard Joyrich, MD
a commentary on the April 2009 Wall Street Journal article on Justice John Paul Stevens’ Oxfordian point-of-view by R. Thomas Hunter, PhD
a translation and elucidation of Spanish ambassador Antonio Perez’s letters by John Hamill,
an article on the relevance of Shakspere’s signatures by Frank Davis
and a review of Stanley Wells’ Is It TrueWhat They Say about Shakespeare? by Richard Whalen.

Hardcopy of the newsletter is available as a benefit of Shakespeare-Oxford Society membership. Support SOS by joining online at:
http://www.goestores.com/catalog.aspx?Merchant=shakespeareoxfordsociety&DeptID=27020 Membership also includes hardcopy of the SOS annual journal, The Oxfordian — a new issue of The Oxfordian is due out in time for the SF/SOS joint conference in Houston November 5-8, 2009.

Linda Theil, Editor
Shakespeare Oxford Newsletter