Tag Archives: Hamlet

“The Man Who Was Hamlet” — Written and Performed by George Dillon — Getting Rave Reviews In London

Dear Friends: The Shakespeare Authorship question is heating up … and not only because of Roland Emmerich’s movie Anonymous.  Check out the info and reviews below.  Here’s the link for more information about tickets and schedules.  If you’re in London over the next few weeks, this sounds like a performance you don’t want to miss.


Who really wrote Hamlet?

That is the question!

With a brilliant script and a five-star performance from award-winning actor George Dillon, The Man Who Was Hamlet reveals the comical, tragical and utterly scandalous history of Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford, the man who many believe was the true author of the works of ‘William Shake-speare’.

5 stars Amazing!
Electrifying! Wicked!”

FringeReview5 Stars Transporting,
subtle, spellbinding , compelling,
charismatic, wry and moving.”


5 Stars Excellent!
Worth seeing both as
education and entertainment.”


“It’s easy to see why
Dillon’s performances
have made him the toast
of the Edinburgh Festival.”

British Theatre Guide

“One of the most compelling
performances I have seen
at the festival.”

Steven Berkoff


“O God! What a wounded name, Things standing thus unknown, I leave behind me! In this harsh world draw thy breath in pain, To tell my story!”
Hamlet / Edward de Vere

Who really wrote Hamlet? Could it possibly have been the work of a barely literate Stratford grain merchant and money lender? Or was it really the dramatic autobiography of a disgraced and disgraceful nobleman?

THE MAN WHO WAS HAMLET, written and performed by George Dillon, tells the comical, tragical, romantic and utterly scandalous history of Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford, the leading alternative candidate for the authorship of the works of ‘William Shakespeare’.

Most people accept the fairy-tale story of ‘the man from Stratford’ – an unschooled glove-maker’s son who abandoned his shrewish wife to become a player and upstart writer in London and made a fortune before he retired to idleness and litigation, leaving his second best bed to his wife in his will. But what most people don’t know is that there is actually very little evidence to connect the merchant of Stratford, William Shaksper (sic), with the poetic works attributed to him.

But who was Edward de Vere?

A brilliant but disgraceful aristocrat whose life and character strikingly echo Shakespeare’s most famous character, Edward de Vere was a courtier, swordsman, adventurer, playwright and poet, who killed a servant, made love to Queen Elizabeth, abandoned his wife, got his mistress with child, was maimed in a duel, travelled in Italy, was captured by pirates, fought the Armada, was imprisoned in the Tower of London, kept two companies of players, but disappeared from history for fifteen years before he died virtually bankrupt. In youth he was hailed as the best of the secret court writers, especially for comedy, but no plays bearing his name have survived and his poetry suddenly stopped after the first invention of… ‘William Shake-speare’.

So was de Vere the inspiration and role model for Hamlet… or was he really the author?

The dying Dane’s last words summon from hell the ghost of Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford, to draw his breath in pain, tell his own story and restore his wounded name in George Dillon’s seventh solo show THE MAN WHO WAS HAMLET, with original music by Charlotte Glasson, directed by Denise Evans.


“This actor, on the stage for an hour and a half, gave one of the most compelling performances I have seen at the festival.  I’ve known George for many years and this performance is amongst the best I have seen – a lesson in the art of acting for any up and coming thespians.”
Steven Berkoff

“MUST SEE! A clever script… a masterful performance!”
The Stage

5 stars Truly masterly… amazing… wicked!”
FringeReview (in Edinburgh)

5 Stars Transporting, subtle, spellbinding and human…  It’s very cleverly done… a fascinating play…  compelling, charismatic, wry and moving.”

5 Stars Excellent one-man show… wonderful acting… great wit and wonderful gags… worth seeing both as education and entertainment.”

5 Stars Easily one of the best shows of the Fringe… cannot be admired, complimented and recommended more.”
Hairline Magazine

4 stars Absorbing and thought-provoking… the evening’s a romp, and a clever one.”
The Scotsman

4 stars An engrossing solo show well worth one’s time and attention.”
Edinburgh Spotlight

“It’s easy to see why Dillon’s performances have made him the toast of the Edinburgh Festival… direct and absorbing… A virtuoso display of dramatic range.”
British Theatre Guide

“A big production in a small theatre and a cut above your average one-man show.”
The Argus

“An exciting piece of writing, witty and sharp, ironic, comedic and sometimes philosophical and, as usual, a masterclass in delivery and individual performance.”

“Makes a good drama even without the Shakespeare theory.”
Dorset Echo

“A thought-provoking evening to anyone with even a passing interest in Shakespeare and an enquiring mind.”
Surrey Mirror

“Very imaginitive… brilliantly scripted, the writing is witty and extremely well researched… Dillon’s performance is excellent… keeps the audience engaged throughout even if you have only a passing interest in Shakespeare.”

“A man. A stage. A time for perfect theatre… An evening of theatrical pleasure that leaves you inspired.”

Showerman speaks on Folger edu-blog

Shakespeare Fellowship President Earl Showerman posted a comment about Greek influences in Hamlet to the Folger Shakespeare Library’s Making a Scene: Shakespeare in the Classroom educational blog on February 14, 2010. Showerman’s commentary supported a February 12, 2010 post by Folger Education Programs Administrative Assistant Caitlin Smith titled, “The Greeks and Shakespeare”.

In her discussion of Orestes in the February 12 post, Smith said:

Shakespeare’s plays, too, have a certain je ne sais quoi which allows them to stay present in the public eye, and even Shakespeare may have been influenced by Greek Tragedy.  Take, for example, HAMLET and ORESTES: They both involve the murder of a king by a relative. The protagonists find themselves denied their fathers’thrones by newly wedded couples. Both Orestes and Hamlet experience periods of madness, and their revenge takes the lives of both the mother and her new husband. Also, both stories place great emphasis on the importance of faithful friendship (in Plyades and Horatio) vs. seeming friendship (in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, and Menelaus).

Showerman augmented Smith’s post with a lengthy and specific commentary on Hamlet‘s Greek influences, and closed with the request:

Is it not time that Jonson’s misleading claim of Shakespeare’s ‘lesse Greek’ as regards Euripides’ influence on the playwright be broadly challenged by the academy?


32 Hamlet quartos at your fingertips from JISC & NEA

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the United Kingdom’s Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) has expanded The Shakespeare Quartos Archive, a free, digital collection of quarto editions of William Shakespeare’s plays. Launched by the British Library in 2004, the project brought together six institutions in the UK and the US to reproduce at least one copy of every edition of Shakespeare’s plays printed in quarto before the theaters closed in 1642.

The site has currently been expanded to include the The Shakespeare Quartos Archive — Hamlet Prototype where:

. . . you can view full cover-to-cover digital reproductions and transcriptions of thirty-two copies of the five earliest editions of the play Hamlet.

. . .

A cross-Atlantic collaboration has also produced an interactive interface for the detailed study of these geographically distant quartos, with full functionality for all thirty-two quarto copies of Hamlet held by participating institutions.

. . .

You can view quartos separately, or alongside any number of copies. You can search, annotate, make public or private sets of annotations, create exhibits or character cue line lists, and download and print text and images.

I was able to access the Hamlet quartos using the Google Chrome browser and had no difficulty viewing the books, zooming, and turning pages without registering to the site. If you register at the site you can use extensive research tools including making manuscript annotations that may be private or open to the public. Registering was quick and painless; name and birthdate were required information.

I don’t know how much of a Shakespeare geek you have to be to get as big a thrill as I got out of just looking at those books, but I don’t think you have to be too geeky to agree this is a magnificent achievement.

More information about the resource was available on the site including the following details:

(This) interactive interface and toolset (is) aimed at facilitating scholarly research, performance studies, and new pedagogical applications derived from detailed examination and comparison of the quartos. Tools and functions include the ability to:

  • overlay text images
  • compare images side-by-side
  • search full-text
  • mark and tag text images with user annotations
  • create public or private sets of annotations
  • create exhibits or character cue line lists, and
  • download and print text and images

The interface prototype is at present fully functional for one play, Hamlet. The prototype is best viewed using the Firefox web browser, version 3.0 or higher. Many features have been tested and will also run on Internet Explorer versions 6, 7, and 8. Digitized images of all thirty-two pre-1642 copies of Hamlet held by participating libraries have undergone full-text transcription and encoding by staff at the Oxford Digital Library. The prototype has been assessed using professionally facilitated experimentation coordinated by the British Library, evaluation by graduate students and faculty at the Shakespeare Institute of the University of Birmingham, and evaluation by readers, staff, and secondary school teachers at the Folger Shakespeare Library.

Future plans: The Shakespeare Quartos Archive plans to apply full-level Hamlet functionality to all plays in quarto, expand available online facsimiles by seeking involvement from new partner institutions with relevant holdings, and extend browser compatibility to all major web browsers.

An article on this topic titled “Shakespeare goes digital: the earliest editions of the Bard’s plays will soon be accessible online in a new digital archive” by Louise Tickle was published January 26, 2010 in The Guardian.