BLOG POST # 46: Mark S. Graham and My Shakespeare Trilogy

I began my day by posting on Facebook about my mentor, Mark S. Graham. This is a timely post because the third play of the trilogy we have worked on so long together is about to be given two significant staged readings.   So, this is a public notice, but also an acknowledgement of how instrumental Mark has been in the creation of three plays I am proud to call mine.

What follows is what has just appeared on Facebook:

MARK GRAHAM, the director of "Shakespeare and the Heart's Desire," has beena theater person for most of his life, progressing from ardent young theater-goer to trainedprofessional, director and actor, as well asteacher, producer, and promoter par excellence.As a board member and director at The Theatre Artists Workshop, he has helped to develop, shape, and promote many of the works of playwrights, both within and outside the workshop, to bring them to final form, ready for the professional stage.

Mark has been the creative partner on this trilogy, written by Mary Jane Schaefer, since 2010, when she first approached him with a very long play she'd written, covering most of Shakespeare's life. He was able to see the work's potential, with this caveat: would the playwright be willing to rewrite substantially, to learn how to focus the material, to shape three dramatically effective plays, each one with its own arc, out of this one interesting but overly ambitious first draft. The result of this artistic collaboration has been the three plays that make up the trilogy.  

Both the first and second plays have already been presented at The National Arts Club ("Shakespeare Rising," 2013; "Judith Shakespeare Has Her Say," 2014).  And, now, "Shakespeare and the Heart's Desire."

The first play was also selected for the 2014 Utah Shakespeare Festival, in its program of staged readings of plays by new, emerging playwrights.  It is also under consideration for production by several Shakespeare festivals in the U.S., as well as the U.K. and Australia.

Thank you, Mark.

The two staged readings appearing shortly are as follows:

Oct. 29 at 3 p.m.  at The Theatre Artists Workshop, 5 Gregory Blvd. (red brick bldg.), Norwalk, CT. Suggested donation $15, no reservations.  Adult Content.

Oct. 30 at 7:30, p.m. at The National Arts Club, 15 Gramercy Park South, New York City.No reservations. Adult Content.