Wednesday, October 19, 2011

New blog for SSOS

 The SSOS has a new blog 

and an email addresss:

Now that we know just what Bottom represents, perhaps it's time to let this asinine vision go.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Mary Stuart, playing at ACT Theater in Seattle, September 9 – October 9, 2011

This production of Frederick Schiller’s 200-year old play about Mary Stuart and Queen Elizabeth is a treat --beautifully acted, and a fascinating imagined version of the two queens and their political situations.

From an authorship-doubt angle, it has a lot to offer. The Elizabethan court is shown as a  world of secrecy, hidden actions & agendas, and plausible deniability. William Cecil and Robert Dudley come off as cold, calculating, and entirely self-interested, a perspective familiar to Oxfordians but less so to the general public who know them from popular films as loyal, decent servants to QE. Elizabeth herself is conflicted and isolated, using sex (or its promise) to influence men in her orbit, and is revealed as a woman whose whole identity has been dominated by the scandals of her parentage.

The play has political relevance to our own time too, implying that a high level of state secrecy has disadvantages for the ruler(s) as well as the ruled. When truth can’t be freely voiced, it can be easily manipulated, leaving even an absolute monarch in the dark as to what is really going on and what kind of characters exist behind the smiling servile masks of advisors and attendants.
Mary Stuart offers a view of the Elizabethan period that could pave the way for more openness to the AQ--- it suggests that the roles and motivations of key court figures as they have come down to us may be incomplete or even doctored versions, and that “history” itself may actually be a sort of mask.

Review by: Jennifer Newton, member Seattle Shakespeare/Oxford Society

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Tom Coad's comments on Shakespeare Authorship as a collaborative venture

Presentation at the December 15, 2010 SSOS Wessex meeting in Seattle

Shakespeare Authorship

Tom Coad

Theatre productions were major entertainment in Queen Elizabeth’s court. Aristocrats financed groups of players, such as
Lord Chamberlain’s Men
Children of St. Paul
Oxford’s Boys
Earl of Warwick’s Men
Oxford’s Men

Hundreds of plays were given at Elizabeth’s Court. Records of Court Revels name no authors.
Some plays had titles similar to Shakespeareplays, and may have been early versions of some of his canon.

Queen Elizabeth actively supported the court theater. She may have suggested plays to promote the monarchy.

Players, as well as aristocrats, could have participated in modifying or suggesting language and plots.

The court provided an unusually creative situation in which gifted individuals participated and vied for the Queen’s attention.

Collaboration, with intelligent participants, is a productive way to enhance creativity. We know that “Hamlet”had earlier versions, as did “Twelfth Night,” “A Midsummer Nights Dream,” and others, which may have been modified by others in the Court and elsewhere. Some plots existed in Latin literature.

Collaboration was used to produce Homer, Beowulf, the King James Bible (which the 17th Earl may have helped edit if he “disappeared” but did not die in 1604), clever TV episodes (such as Seinfeld), and many movies.

The argument in favor of collaboration, while only a theory, fits the circumstances. By supplying a different perspective, it also describes a situation in which the plays could grow and take shape during the years when Edward had time for revision and rewriting. There was no pressure of deadlines, and the annual royal stipend of 1,000 pounds removed financial worries after 1586.

One can picture the plays as relatively empty boxes that Edward filled with poetic lines that he changed and massaged over a long period of time. His creative process probably did not take place in short bursts of genius. The lines were too deeply felt and carefully crafted. They seem to have evolved, rather being fashioned spontaneously to satisfy demands of a plot.

More research needs to be done. A first step might be to find records of the plots and language of plays delivered in public venues without specific attribution. There may have been more early versions of plays that evolved, and ended up in the Shakespeare canon.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Last Shakespeare-Oxford gathering of 2010

The Seattle-Oxford-Shakespeare discussion group had a fruitful year.

We read and discussed Looney, Anderson, and various authors published in Brief Chronicles;
attended authorship conferences in Portland and Ashland; and passed around Cougar gold and Roe's "Guide to Italy." A full report would be delightful but might not be forthcoming.
Let's just say, "You had to be there."

So, don't miss the last meeting of the year:
We'll be in the back room of DelFino's Pizzeria between 6:30 and 7:00 pm
Wednesday December 15th

Here is Sam's announcement: Note the emphasis on the merry hall roaring with drink and laughter.

DelFino's Pizzeria is located near the north entrance to Barnes and Noble in the University Village.
All persons who love Shakespeare and truth are invited and welcome.
Backsliders are welcome too, especially at this meeting because:.
  • this will be the evening when we assemble for the final time in the year MMX.
  • A Large thin-crust Vegitarian, and a large thin-crust Pepperoni pizza and a few pitchers of beer will be ordered preemptively for those of us who do not wish to order a separate meal.
(1) Our program will provide: an opportunity for the hoipolloi to obtain a glance at Kathryn Sharpe' s single, precious, enviable, advance copy of "The Shakespeare Guide to Italy Then and Now" by Richard Paul Roe. [It will be due out to us, general riffraff, next September.]

(2) Sam will recapitualate the most pressing needs AND LATEST TRIUMPHS of the Shakespeare Fellowship as revealed during the most recent Board of Trustees meeting.

(3)Tom Coad will present a short overview of the Shakespeare Authorship Question from his point of view.
(Note from Kathryn: What I told Sam was to let Tom talk without interruption for at least 10 minutes, as a reward for so generously funding Cheryl Egan-Donovon's filming in Italy.)

(4) A review/discussion will be held of the recently seen, innovative SSC production of Hamlet, vis-a-vis the OSF production of Hamlet as viewed by those attending the Shakespeare Fellowship Annual meeting in Ashland in October 2010.

  • This will accord us an opportunity to hear Kathryn Wilson's discussion of some of the contents of the on-line Volume II of Brief Chronicles,
  • including Michael Delahoyde's review of theBeauclerk book therin, as well as an Oxfordian version of Hamlet in preparation.
  • A comparison of the pernicious influence of the controversial book Shakespeare's Lost Kingdom by Charles Beauclerk to the authorship question with that of Looney can be made.

(5) We will, of course, have an opportunity for each of us to present our own most recent, decisive bit of evidence on the Shakespeare Authorship Question [to the shame of all those who still disagree with us]

But most importantly, we will all have an opportunity to "break bread", and share a few pitchers of Widmer Brother's Hefeweisen, while conversing with some of the most astute minds in the Seattle area, and then to exchange `Season's Best' with some of the finer people.

(Note from Kathryn: Hmmmm? I'm losing you here Sam. I hope you mean we're all astute and fine. Of course you do. But the text does not support it.

And I don't think those who disagree are shamed by any of this--even when our ideas are based on evidence. Why should they feel shame? What person that they respect will tell them their belief is wrong? None. Why should they alter a story they prefer, why should they listen to ours? No reason. At least, none they can see, or if they do, they will advance their theories in private. No reason to stick a neck out if it can be avoided.

Besides, there's no rush to have the truth go viral. Let me get some of my plodding research done before the epidemic.)

Please join us,

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Hero or Hoax

The March 27th issue of "The Economist" reviews James Shapiro's book, "Contested Will: Who Wrote Shakespeare?"

Nonie Sharpe sent me a copy, with the last words of the review underlined in black pen: "Beyond that is imagination. In essence, that's what the book is about." Yes, and the author would like to think it's Shakespeare's imagination he's lauding, but it's his own. He partakes liberally of the endless ability of Stratfordian supporters to imagine the impossible. The real author, the Earl of Oxford, did not need so much imagination--he had data, first-hand observations, and access to the people and books that permeate Shakespeare's world.

Most interesting to me in the short review is this tidbit, "Bacon and Looney developed their theories in a spirit of religious doubt, and in the throes of their own personal crises." As though that disqualifies their theories! You'd have to erase a lot of civilization if we couldn't advance, test, or produce evidence in support of any theory that was developed in a spirit of religious doubt or during a personal crisis.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Boar Earrings

Need a perfect present for an Oxfordian lady? Take a look at these gold-plated boar earrings, made from two Bermuda pennies. The coin cutter is a Seattle man who sells on ETSY, and I'm considering asking him to make me a pair in silver. They would be the perfect thing to sport at the upcoming Oxfordian conference in Houston, where it's more than acceptable to put on the pig.

Here is Wally's little boar:
A Cut Above Coins:

ETSY is a craftsman's paradise, well known to us because our daughter Emily has two shops there, including this one featuring cut stones set in recycled silver and gold:
Pearl Everlasting:

I think we'll see a rise in Oxfordian items as the authorship transfers. How about a coffee cup with an images that changes from Stratford mask to Oxford's portrait as the "heat is applied"? I have the copyright.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Shakespeare, Interrupted. NOT.

Don't miss the online version of an August 09 article Shakespeare, Interrupted in Scientific American by Michael Shermer. He dismisses the authorship question, concluding:

"...Reasonable doubt is not enough to dethrone the man from Stratfordupon-Avon, and to date, no overwhelming case has been made for any other author."

(Is that a new pseudonym, "Stratfordupon-Avon"? I'm liking it, big time.)

Despite his disappointing, uninformed, and apparently undeited remarks, you'll find thoughtful comments by Oxfordians including Ian Haste, William Wray, Roger Stritmatter, Nonie Sharpe, and Hank Whittemore. It's worth reading through to the end to find these gems.

And perhaps some of you will want to join the discussion,