Mr. O'Toole contends that Shakespeare did in fact write the plays, despite what others may think, and despite the theory that Edward deVere -- the hero of the film Anonymous -- wrote the plays.
All of this got me thinking about these people, and I looked them up on Wikipedia:
Janet Suzman was born to a wealthy tobacco importer, in South Africa, and she eventually attended the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. It seems improbable that she would come from such a place and become one of the leading actresses to perform Shakespeare, but she did.
|Daughter of a tobacco importer|
|Son of a tobacconist|
|Son of a gardening machine magnate|
|Son of a teacher|
Tommy Flowers was the son of a bricklayer and did not go to a prestigious university. It seems improbable that he would create something as significant as the very first computer, but there it is.
|Son of a bricklayer|
|Son of a glovemaker|
All of them had rather inauspicious beginnings, but they didn't let that stop them from seeking and obtaining more success than even they had perhaps dared dream.
How would Emmerich feel if people said that his frequent collaborator, Dean Devlin, was the one responsible for all of their success?
No matter what Emmerich does now to preserve his reputation and fame, there is nothing he can do to safeguard it for 400 years! In 400 years time he may be entirely forgotten.
I would venture to say that had Suzman, Jacobi, Rylance and even Emmerich all been born in Elizabethan England, they would have found their way to the stage with Shakespeare (or perhaps in another company), and would have had distinguished careers.
I don't think Jacobi, Emmerich and Rylance have been forthright and honest with us. I don't think they have told us the real reason why they think Shakespeare was a fraud. I don't believe them when they say things like only deVere could have written the plays because he travelled extensively in Italy, and so many of the plays are set in Italy. I don't buy that. I think there is more they are not saying. I don't know what it is, but I sense that there is more.
I think one thing they all overlook is the fact that they have lived in free societies with established traditions of theatre, TV, film, music, etc. To learn their craft was no great hurdle. It was not easy, but not impossible, and there are so many opportunities for actors, writers, and so on.
Shakespeare lived in a police state with no established tradition of theatre. It was all new. He was like a prisoner who was set free, and while he was free he could say almost anything as a writer and actor. He took advantage of this opportunity, with the full knowledge that it might not last, and would in all probability come to a terrible end very soon.
It didn't. He was able to write and perform for many long years. And I am sure that he was delighted that it was so, but he must have also lived with the fear that whatever he wrote would most likely end up being censored at the very least, or banned and burned at the worst.
He had no reason to expect that we would remember his name, let alone read and cherish his writing, 400 years later.
It is a miracle that his work survived. In my versions of his plays I am trying to return the plays to their original glory, and show all of you what Shakespeare wrote as he wrote it for the first time, desperately trying to make himself heard in an England that had thrown open the gates, and let him run free.