I said I would reveal the cast in my next post but I am fickle. Instead I will give you a summary of the story of The Beard of Avon. And not the company line that you can find at the Rorschach Web Site but I as a member of the casts take on this exciting and funny piece of conspiracy theory.
The playwright Amy Freed has created the theatrical equivalent of Oliver Stone's JFK. Only the play is much funnier and with Sir Francis Bacon instead of Kevin Bacon in the cast. There are many scholars throughout history who have had a hard time believing that a kid from the backwater town of Avon could have written the works of Shakespeare. Put it down to intellectual snobbery or what ever but they hold that the knowledge needed to write the Cannon of Shakespeare's work could not have come out of the head of some rube. They usually point mostly to the use of Italy as the location for the plays and the intimate knowledge of the workings and history of the English Royal Court. Thus the great conspiracy was born. Who wrote these plays and did William Shakespeare even exist?
The Beard of Avon plays on some of the myths that have sprung up around Shakespeare; the man, the name and the plays. The usual suspects for authorship include names like Sir Francis Bacon and Edward de Vere, The Earl of Oxford. There is even a theory that Christopher "Kit" Marlowe wrote the plays, after faking his death in a bar fight and hiding in Italy and having his plays smuggled back to England. Personally I would rather Marlowe actually died in the bar fight because being stabbed in the eye makes for a better story.
Amy Freed has written a play which really explores less the answer to the question of authorship and more about answering the question of what makes art great, the art or the artist. Its all that and jokes about bodily functions, but very classy jokes.
Here is what Amy Freed the playwright had to say on all this in January 2002 to the Stanford Reporter.
Tomorrow: The Cast