MARY JANE SCHAEFER (Playwright) has been working on her Shakespeare trilogy since 2008. The first play in the series of full-length plays, “Shakespeare Rising,” was developed by director Mark Graham and the actors of The Theatre Artists Workshop of Westport (Ct.), and seen at The National Arts Club in New York City, Sept. 2013. Directed by Henry Woronicz, it went on to win a spot at The Utah Shakespeare Festival 2014 in their program for original plays. It is an imagined portrait of Will's life, with the specific focus point the death of his only son, and how that death changed Will's life and influenced his writing of "Hamlet." Since then, this play has been seen by new New York City audiences, at The Players Club, September, 2018. This play and the other two plays of the trilogy were presented at the Players, sponsored by The Players Foundation, and by the eminent John Andrews, President of The Shakespeare Guild. A review of these plays, written by John Mahon and Charles Altieri of Berkeley, will appear soon in the next issue of The Shakespeare Newsletter, edited by John Mahon.
“Judith Shakespeare Has Her Say,” the second play of the trilogy, presents a portrait of Shakespeare as seen by the daughter he disinherited. It is a very different Will, this man who leads a double life in London. Part-fictional and part drawn from actual record, it provides a feminist view of the great man. Once again, this play was developed by Mark Graham and the actors of The Theatre Artists Workshop of Westport (Ct.). It was given a reading at The National Arts Club in New York in December of 2014. (Mia Dillon, who urged the writing of this play, took the role of Old Judith.)
The third play of the trilogy, after two years of development, is now completed. "Shakespeare and the Heart's Desire" centers upon Shakespeare's fascination with the beautiful youth of his sonnets. In the course of the play, we witness an historical incident and its aftermath, as Shakespeare's Company is entangled in a treasonous act committed by the Earls of Southampton and Essex. The history is real. The plot of the play is, as usual, imagined and presented in dramatized form and heightened language. At the play's center is Shakespeare himself, explaining to himself and to us this crucial event in his life. The third play thus hearkens back to the first play of the trilogy, as Shakespeare steps back to take the long view, both on his own life, and on the nature of human life itself. This play was presented as a staged reading at The National Arts Club on Monday, Oct. 30, 2017, at 7:30 p.m., after a matinee performance the day before, Oct. 29, 3:00 at The Theatre Artists Workshop in Norwalk, CT.
ALL THREE PLAYS ARE CURRENTLY AVAILABLE THROUGH THE NEW PLAY EXCHANGE.
To see photos of the various casts of the first two plays, see the website's homepage, called The Trilogy.
To read more thoughts about the work, the theater, the creative process, etc., see my blog, Exploring the Process.
To contact Mary Jane Schaefer, email: email@example.com. I welcome comments here or on my blog. I also welcome any interest in seeing more of my work. I do not yet have an agent.