Monthly Archives: November 2011

Last Will and Testament — New Shakespeare Authorship Documentary Previews at Shakespeare’s Globe in London November 27, 2011

Shakespearean Authorship Trust Conference 2011

http://www.shakespeareanauthorshiptrust.org.uk/pages/conf.htm

The Shakespearean Authorship Trust, in collaboration with Brunel University, hosts an advance screening of a major new authorship documentary, Last Will. & Testament at Shakespeare’s Globe on Sunday 27 November.

At a time when the Shakespeare world is being rocked by the imminent appearance of Roland Emmerich’s feature film, Anonymous, as well as the publication of several books based on new research, including Richard Roe’s The Shakespeare Guide to Italy and Katherine Chiljan’s Shakespeare Suppressed, there comes the first major documentary on the authorship question for 22 years. The timing could not be better, and we are very fortunate to have the film’s director Lisa Wilson with us to introduce the work and answer questions on it. (Lisa was also a consultant on Anonymous, and is a trustee of the SAT.) She will be joined by no fewer than seven luminaries who took part in the documentary: Diana Price, author of Shakespeare’s Unorthodox Biography, Professor Roger Stritmatter of Coppin State University in Baltimore, actors Sir Derek Jacobi* and Vanessa Redgrave*, the Chairman of the SAT, Mark Rylance, Dr. William Leahy, Head of the School of Arts at Brunel University, and Charles Beauclerk, author of Shakespeare’s Lost Kingdom.

Last Will. & Testament is a 90-minute film that explores the evolution of the authorship question since Shakespeare’s time, with particular reference to William Shakspere of Stratford and Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford, though other candidates are discussed. Among those defending the orthodox position are Stanley Wells and Jonathan Bate, both of whom were invited to speak at the conference. The documentary is beautifully shot and has exclusive access to footage of Roland Emmerich’s Anonymous, which is due for general release on 28 October 2011. The film will be shown in three parts in order to give conference attendees proper time to digest and discuss the material as the day unfolds. It promises to be a fascinating and provocative experience, with plenty of opportunity for the audience to engage with guest speakers.
*subject to availability

Date: Sunday 27 November 2011
Time: 11:00 – 18:15 (Tea and coffee available from 10:30)
Venue: Shakespeare’s Globe, 21 New Globe Walk, Bankside,               London, SE1 9DT
Tickets: £35 (including tea and coffee)
Booking: Shakespeare’s Globe Box Office: Tel: 020 7401 9919
Booking opens: 17 October 2011

Click here for the programme schedule in pdf format.

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From The “In Case You Missed It” Department: Anonymous Screenwriter John Orloff Answers Critics In The Guardian

This appeared several weeks ago.  In case you missed it … or in case you want to review again … well worth reading.  Here’s the link followed by a few paragraphs.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/oct/27/shakespeare-scholars-authorship-plays-anonymous?intcmp=239

Our film Anonymous asks viewers to think for themselves about Shakespeare

Criticism of Anonymous has been vitriolic. But scholarship about Shakespeare’s life relies on smoke and mirrors

John Orloff

guardian.co.uk, Thursday 27 October 2011 11.00 EDT

As the screenwriter of Anonymous, I’ve watched the reactions to the film both here in the UK and in the US with great interest and not a little surprise. The film-makers, myself included, expected controversy – one does not take on sacred cows naively – but I must confess that the vitriol of our critics has been impressive.

One American Ivy League professor, James Shapiro, has insinuated that our film is like Nazi propaganda. The county of Warwickshire allowed the Shakespeare Trust to temporarily remove Shakespeare’s name from public signs – an act of protest against our film that seems counter-productive; anti-Stratfordians couldn’t agree more with that act.

Throughout the run-up to the film’s release, I have been reminded that one does not take on people’s livelihoods lightly.

While our little film not only does not disparage the genius of Hamlet and Lear, but rather honours, rightly, the genius of the work, it does challenge two Bard-related industries – tourism and, perhaps more provocatively, Shakespearean scholarship itself.

Read More:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/oct/27/shakespeare-scholars-authorship-plays-anonymous?intcmp=239

And Now For Something Completely Different — The New Yorker Publishes Eric Idle’s Funny (If Misguided) Take On The Authorship Question.

Shouts & Murmurs

Who Wrote Shakespeare?

by Eric Idle* November 21, 2011

While it is perfectly obvious to everyone that Ben Jonson wrote all of Shakespeare’s plays, it is less known that Ben Jonson’s plays were written by a teen-age girl in Sunderland, who mysteriously disappeared, leaving no trace of her existence, which is clear proof that she wrote them. The plays of Marlowe were actually written by a chambermaid named Marlene, who faked her own orgasm, and then her own death in a Deptford tavern brawl. Queen Elizabeth, who was obviously a man, conspired to have Shakespeare named as the author of his plays, because how could a man who had only a grammar-school education and spoke Latin and a little Greek possibly have written something as bad as “All’s Well That Ends Well”? It makes no sense. It was obviously an upper-class twit who wished to disguise his identity so that Vanessa Redgrave could get a job in her old age.
Read more http://www.newyorker.com/humor/2011/11/21/111121sh_shouts_idle#ixzz1eIqtT1Mb

Actor Michael York and Shakespeare Authorship Coalition challenge Stratford’s Shakespeare Birthplace Trust with new reasons to doubt the identity of author William Shakespeare in the wake of Sony Pictures’ heretical film, “Anonymous.”

Note: This story is embargoed until the date specified in the release: November 21, 2011.

Actor Michael York and Shakespeare Authorship Coalition challenge Stratford’s Shakespeare Birthplace Trust with new reasons to doubt the identity of author William Shakespeare in the wake of Sony Pictures’ heretical film, “Anonymous.”

Los Angeles, CA., Nov. 21, 2011 – amidst all the controversy surrounding Sony Pictures’ recently-released film Anonymous, actor and author Michael York, O.B.E., launched a powerful, multi-pronged counter-offensive against the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust (SBT) in Stratford-upon-Avon, and its “60 Minutes with Shakespeare” authorship campaign, initiated in response to the film. York also announced a monumental breakthrough in the controversy – detailed evidence that Shakespeare traveled all over Italy. The problem for orthodox Shakespeare scholars is that the traditional author, Mr. William “Shakspere” of Stratford-upon-Avon, never left England.

During a briefing at the Los Angeles Press Club’s Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood (10:00 a.m.  to ~noon at 4773 Hollywood Blvd. – one block west of Vermont Avenue on the north side of street) Michael York, Hilary Roe Metternich, daughter of the man who discovered the new evidence, and John M. Shahan, Chairman of the California-based Shakespeare Authorship Coalition (SAC) lambasted the SBT for its Orwellianattacks against doubters, and for poor scholarship in its “60 Minutes with Shakespeare” website, featuring 60 SBT supporters, each giving a 60-second audio-recorded response to one of 60 questions posed by the SBT.

Michael York, in language echoing that which brought down Senator Joseph McCarthy, castigated Professor Stanley Wells, Honorary President of the SBT, and Paul Edmondson, Head of Learning and Research at the SBT, for suggesting that the authorship controversy is merely another “conspiracy theory,” and for labeling doubters “anti-Shakespeareans.” “Have you no sense of decency sirs, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?”* York asked. “Or, as Shakespeare put it in Hamlet, ‘O shame! Where is thy blush?'” he added. “Doubters are not ‘anti-Shakespeare,'” York insisted, “but your behaviour is most un-Shakespearean.”

SAC Chairman John Shahan announced that a coalition of a dozen authorship organizations, based in the U.S., U.K., and Germany, has rebutted each point in the SBT “60 Minutes.” The rebuttal document, titled Exposing an Industry in Denial: Authorship Doubters Respond to “60 Minutes with Shakespeare, is at the SAC website at doubtaboutwill.org. “The SBT erred in coming down from their ivory tower to attack,” Shahan said, “This rebuttal document makes clear that the best of our scholars are far superior to theirs.”

Shahan challenged the SBT (online petition) to write a declaration of the reasons why they claim there is “no room for doubt” about the identity of “Shakespeare” and post it with the names of those who have endorsed it. He noted that the SAC wrote and posted a statement of its own position, the Declaration of Reasonable Doubt About the Identity of William Shakespeare, in 2007. It has now been signed by over 2,200 people – over 800 with advanced degrees, and nearly 400 current or former college/university faculty members.

Hilary Roe Metternich announced the discovery of powerful new evidence in the controversy, contained in the newly-released book,  The Shakespeare Guide to Italy: Retracing the Bard’s Unknown Travels, by Richard Paul Roe (HarperPerennial). Ms. Metternich, the daughter of the author, a prominent Pasadena attorney who died late last year, said that her father spent more than 20 years traveling in Italy, his only guide being the texts of Shakespeare’s 10 “Italian Plays” (not counting three plays set in ancient Rome).

“The clues were all right there in the plays” Metternich said. “My father found the locations of nearly every scene in all 10 of these plays – locations unnoticed by Shakespeare scholars and biographers for 400 years.” “His great chronicle – a tour de force of travel, analysis and discovery – paints with amazing clarity a picture of what the author ‘Shakespeare,’ whoever he was, almost surely witnessed before writing his Italian plays.”

Contact persons: Re: Coalition and rebuttals: John Shahan at (909) 896-2006;  jmshahan@verizon.net

Re: The Shakespeare Guide to Italy: Hilary Roe Metternich: hrm3325@aol.com

——————

*Question put to Senator Joseph McCarthy on June 9, 1954, at the Army-McCarthy Hearings.

Christopher Paul’s Review of Shakespeare’s Lost Kingdom Now Available in German, Also in English on Various Websites

Oxfordian researcher and writer Christopher Paul reports that his review of Shakespeare’s Lost Kingdom by Charles Beauclerk has been translated into German by the Neue Shake-speare Gesellschaft (New Shake-speare Society) for the current edition of the NEW SHAKE-SPEARE JOURNAL: Christopher Paul, “Shakespeares verlorenes Königreich,” NEUES SHAKE-SPEARE JOURNAL New Series 2 (2011), 13-31. The German-language review is available online in pdf at http://shake-speare-today.de/front_content.php?idart=568.
 
With Roland Emmerich’s movie Anonymous now in theaters, this is a particularly good time to read Christopher Paul’s timely and insightful review.  If you haven’t read his review yet, you now have many options for getting your hands and eyes on this article.
The original English version of the review was published in Brief Chronicles II (2010, Print Edition), 244-57. For information about Brief Chronicles, see: http://www.briefchronicles.com/ojs/index.php/bc/index.php.
Paul announced that his review is now available as a downloadable pdf at the following weblog/sites: