Thursday, April 09, 2009

Doublets and Double-takes: Spring Break with the Bard

Through April 19, Tampa, Florida's Gorilla Theatre Company presents troupe founder Audrey Hampton's new drama Elizabeth and Edward --a new play arguing that de Vere was "Shakespeare".

From the Tampa Bay Tribune review, it looks like a hodgepodge of dramatic flashback and rhetorical argumentation.

Ten actors, the review says, "take on several roles and time periods to support the Oxfordian line of thought. Ghosts of actors past open the play at the 500th [sic] Shakespeare Jubilee, 1569-2069, where the question of authorship segues into a series of qualifying vignettes." (No doubt a typo here referencing David Garrick's 1769 Stratford Shakespeare Jubilee.)

Here's the pity:

As the review says, "If de Vere wrote 'Hamlet,' 'Macbeth' and the like, he would have been under pressure to hide his identity. And that would have been even more likely were he Elizabeth's bastard child, as the scholars suggest." [My emphasis]

Some orthodox scholars are indeed taking more and more seriously the Oxfordian argument that Edward de Vere played a key role -- arguably was the author -- behind the "Shakespeare" byline. But I have yet to see a single scholarly paper or book arguing that de Vere had Tudor blood, let alone was Queen Elizabeth's bastard son.

The waters are muddy enough with Stratfordian mumbo-jumbo. It's too bad that Oxfordians, too, have to add to the confusion.

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