Here is an advance look at the program note I wrote for the Feb. 27th reading of
"Shakespeare and the Heart's Desire." I don't know if the whole thing will be accepted for the program, but I wanted to make it as accurate and complete as I could.
ABOUT THE PLAY: Shakespeare and the Heart's Desire
by Mary Jane Schaefer
Tonight's play tells the story of an amazing and true event in Shakespeare's life, his dangerous involvement in a plot to pull Queen Elizabeth the First off the throne of England. How can this be our gentle Shakespeare? Was he not content to enjoy his success at the Globe Theatre, and to present his plays at Court for the Queen? Why in the world would a man who had won such great success risk everything: his life and fortune, along with those of his Company and his family? Many of the play's events are based on historical records; the rest provide an answer to that basic question: why did Shakespeare do it, and the question that immediately follows: how did he escape unscathed after abetting High Treason? This play follows the thread through a web of love and intrigue to answer these questions.
ABOUT THE TRILOGY: The Lives of Shakespeare
by Mary Jane Schaefer
Shakespeare and the Heart's Desire is the third play of the trilogy. Each play stands on its own, but together they present Shakespeare's life from very different perspectives. The first play of the trilogy, Shakespeare Rising, tells the story of Will's development as a successful playwright and how his life and work almost came to a crashing end when his only son, Hamnet, died at the age of eleven. PRODUCTION HISTORY : This play was presented in 2013 at The National Arts Club, NYC, under the title Shakespeare in the Dark. In 2014 it won a spot and was performed at The Utah Shakespeare Festival under the title Hamlet's Shakespeare. The second play of the trilogy, Judith Shakespeare Has Her Say, was given a staged reading at The National Arts Club, NYC late 2014. This is the story of Judith Shakespeare, Will's younger daughter, whom he disinherited on his deathbed. Seeing Will from his disgruntled daughter's point of view provides a very different perspective indeed.
All three plays have been developed under the guidance of Mark S. Graham, director and creative partner on the project, and through the generous assistance of the gifted actors of The Theatre Artists Workshop of Westport. For more information, see: schaeferonshakespeare.squarespace.com