NEWPORT, R.I. – A comedic play that calls into question whether William Shakespeare truly wrote all he’s given credit for will be presented by Salve Regina University’s theatre arts program from March 4-6 at the historic Casino Theatre.
Amy Freed’s “The Beard of Avon” will be performed on Friday and Saturday, March 4-5, at 8 p.m., and on Sunday, March 6 at 3 p.m. Tickets are $15 for general admission, $10 for seniors (age 65 and older) and $7 for students. Tickets are available www.tinyurl.com/SalveCasino or by calling toll-free (866) 811-4111.
A special open dress rehearsal will be held on Thursday, March 3 at 8 p.m. Tickets for this performance are $5 for the general public and will only be sold at the Casino Theatre box office on the night of the performance. The Casino Theatre is located at 9 Freebody St., directly behind the International Tennis Hall of Fame.
Under the direction of Suzanne Delle, assistant professor of Theatre Arts at Salve Regina, the play follows Shakespeare (played by junior Owen Murphy of Marion, Mass.) as he abandons his wife Anne Hathaway (freshman Katherine Witschen of Minnesota) in Stratford-on-Avon after a visit from a touring company of players
He makes his way to London, determined to be an actor, and seeks out the theater troupe. After an audition scene that humorously reflects how directors and actors interact, he is offered a silent “spear-shaker” role. Through the troupe, Shakespeare meets Edward de Vere, (Frank Fusaro of Newport, who is artistic director of the local improv group The Bit Players), a nobleman who would be ostracized if it were discovered that he writes plays for performances by commoners. A deal is struck and a writing partnership is formed.
Free panel discussion examines Shakespeare’s authorship
With the purchase of a ticket to any performance of “The Beard of Avon,” audience members are invited to a free panel discussion that examines the authorship of Shakespeare. Sponsored by the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities in conjunction with Salve Regina’s theatre arts and English programs, “A Playwright by Any Other Name: Questions of Shakespeare’s Authorship Examined” will be presented on Saturday, March 5 at 6 p.m. at the Casino Theatre.
The panel will be moderated by Jacqueline Lawler, a junior theatre minor, and features distinguished speakers Robert Brustein, Curt Columbus, and Dr. Joan David.
Brustein is a senior research fellow at Harvard University, and founded both the Yale Repertory Theatre and the American Repertory Theatre (ART) in Cambridge, MA. He has written several critical books on theatre and society; his most recent book The Tainted Muse deals with the prejudices and predispositions in Shakespeare’s work and how they relate to the Bard’s personal views. He will be examining this topic at the panel as well as arguing what he believes is the “overwhelming evidence for Shakespeare’s authorship.”
Columbus is the artistic director at Trinity Repertory Company is Providence, RI. He has directed several productions there, including his own translation of Anton Chekov’s The Cherry Orchard. Broadway Play Publishing published his original play The Dreams of Antigone in June 2010. Mr. Columbus will be discussing how the question of Shakespeare’s authorship affects the approach an actor takes when preparing to perform his work.
David is a professor of English at Salve Regina. She has taught at the university for 48 years and is the resident Shakespearean scholar. She will discuss the other major candidates for the authorship of the plays and why it is critics believe in the potential of those men as the true authors.
For more information on the play or the panel discussion, contact the Department of Performing Arts at (401) 341- 2250.