Shakespeare Solved ®


Shakespeare Solved ® is a forthcoming series of novels that covers the Bard's entire life and work.

These novels solve the mysteries surrounding Shakespeare by transporting us back in time, to walk in his shoes, and see his world through his eyes.

Only when we see Shakespeare in his original historical context can we understand what his plays and poems really mean.

This blog explains some of my ideas and discoveries, to prepare for this series of novels.

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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Derek Jacobi, Roland Emmerich, Mark Rylance & Shakespeare

I enjoy reading about how the great actress Janet Suzman is attacking Derek Jacobi, Roland Emmerich and Mark Rylance for their "haughty" and "snobbish" view that Shakespeare was not the true author of the plays.

I have also enjoyed reading some articles by Fintan O'Toole and this one on the authorship issue is very good.

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.

I had thought that Alan Turing had invented the computer, but I have to thank Mr. O'Toole for teaching me that it was in fact Tommy Flowers who created the first programmable computer. He created it at his own expense while working in the code-breaking operation at Bletchley Park, during World War II.

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
Derek Jacobi was born in London, his mother a secretary and his father ran a sweet shop, and was also a tobacconist. It seems improbable that he would come from such humble beginnings and go on to great success, but he did have an aptitude for performance early on. He went to Cambridge University, during which he continued to act with acclaim, and from there he has had a very fine career on stage, TV and film.

Son of a tobacconist
Roland Emmerich was born in Germany to a wealthy father, the founder of a garden machinery production company. Here is a young man whose success was probable, as he went to film school and eventually became a director of some very big blockbusters.

Son of a gardening machine magnate
Mark Rylance was born in England, but moved with his parents, both teachers, to the United States where his father taught at a prestigious school. It also seems improbable that he would go on to have the career he has had, but he did start acting by the time he was 16 or so. Soon after he won a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London, and the rest is history.

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
Finally, Shakespeare was the son of a glovemaker and did not attend university at all. It seems improbable that he would be the greatest writer in the English language, but if he showed early promise writing plays in school as a teenager (in his Latin class) and travelled to London soon after, there is every reason to believe that he would have worked his way up the ladder and become as famous as he has.

Son of a glovemaker
My point is rather simple: Shakespeare worked hard and earned his success. So did Jacobi, Emmerich, and Rylance. Why is it so hard for them to pay Shakespeare the same courtesy and respect we give them? I don't think they would appreciate anyone giving credit for their success to someone else.

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.


Cheers,

David