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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The University of Oxford's Bodleian Library & The Royal Shakespeare Company

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Monday, June 10, 2013

The Public Theater's Shakespeare In The Park The Comedy Of Errors

I had the great pleasure to see some Public Theater's Shakespeare in the Park on Saturday night, at the Delacorte Theater in New York’s Central Park.

The Delacorte Theater in New York's Central Park

I saw The Comedy of Errors, directed by the acclaimed Daniel Sullivan. He directed Al Pacino playing Shylock (again!) in 2010 revival of The Merchant of Venice.

I am not a professional critic, but I wanted to share with you how much I enjoyed seeing the play and why for me it is such a fascinating play.

It has been many years since I saw a play at the Delacorte, and it was exciting to return to it. Oddly enough, I think I sat in the same seat!

You couldn’t have asked for better weather. It was not too hot, nor too cold, and the skies were almost entirely clear.

The theatre is not far from the corner of 81st Street and Central Park West. But on a night like Saturday, you almost forget where you are. And with Belvedere Castle behind the stage, it makes you feel like you are in some distant time and place.

The Delacorte with Belvedere Castle in the background

And when the play began, all of your attention is immediately focused on the play.

It was very entertaining, and the cast was excellent.

I loved the fact that the play was set in the 1940’s, with Glen Miller big-band music, and swing-dancing. It gave the play a very lively energy, and the comedy of the play fits so easily into that period which was known for its screwball comedy.

I especially loved the professional swing-dancers. They were fantastic and never ceased to delight the audience.

Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Hamish Linklater

Hamish Linklater played Antipholus to Jesse Tyler Ferguson’s Dromio. They worked together before in the 2010 production of Merchant, and they have been doing Shakespeare for many years. 

Not only are they great together, but the energy and enthusiasm they have for the language is delightful. They obviously love working together, and while I know that they are both very busy working on TV, I do hope they continue to perform Shakespeare as often as possible.

By all means, go see this production if you can. It is the shortest of Shakespeare's plays, and I couldn't believe how fast it went. Shakespeare believed that brevity is the soul of wit, and the play which only runs 90 minutes, was filled with almost non-stop laughter.

I had seen the play years ago. I read it again not long ago, but that was before I started working on these Shakespeare Solved versions of the plays.

As I was watching the play, it occurred to me how important this play must have been to Shakespeare.

Arguably it would have been the most personal play for Shakespeare, during his lifetime.

When he was a schoolboy in Stratford, he learned Latin.

One of the most commonly used methods to learn Latin was to read aloud, and even act out some of it, from plays like Menaechmi and Amphitryon written by the Roman playwright Plautus.

Shakespeare based The Comedy of Errors on these plays by Plautus.

But when did he do this? Did he write the play when he was in London, about 1590?

I have another theory. I think it is more likely that Shakespeare had acted out the Plautus plays so often, in school and outside, with his schoolmates, that he had been writing the play in one way or another for almost 20 years.

So, long before Shakespeare became a professional playwright, this was the first story, the first set of characters, and the first thing Shakespeare ever wanted to turn into a play.

This could be the play that inspired him to write in the first place.

It seems very likely, especially since the play is so funny and exuberant, and while there is certainly some rather dark aspects to it, it is very innocent and hopeful.

I think that Shakespeare knew that he had several stories to write, especially Hamlet.

But I think it all started with Plautus. And for all we know, it might in fact be the play that launched Shakespeare's career.


David B. Schajer

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