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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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Shakespeare Theatre Company's Will on the Hill 2014

Last night I had the pleasure of going to the annual Will on the Hill at the Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington, D.C.

What makes the event so unique is that it invites people who work on Capitol Hill, including Senators, Representatives, and media figures, to perform a Shakespearean-themed show.

There was even an MP from the England, Ian Liddell-Grainger.

Also, there were several professional actors on hand to round out the cast, including Harry Hamlin and Nicholas Bruder. 

It was great to see Hannah Yelland again. She was excellent as Hermione in The Winter's Tale at the Shakespeare Theatre Company. And it was great to meet John Keabler, who was superb as Hotspur in Henry IV, Part 1 at STC.

I highly recommend this event, so please keep an eye out for it in the future. This is the second one I have seen, and the shows are unusual and very funny.

The purpose of the show itself is to make as many Shakespeare references as possible while also roasting political figures, and lampooning the politics of the day.

There were jokes about the NSA, social media, Obamacare, Super PACs (Political Action Committees), Sarah Palin, and so forth.

I have to admit that I don't understand many of the jokes, and I don't recognize all of the political figures whom they are mocking. Afterwards I met someone who explained some of the jokes, and I was surprised at how biting some of this satire was.

It made me think of what it must have been like for Shakespeare's original Elizabethan and Jacobean audiences when they went to see his plays. 

Anyone alive in London during that period would have heard rumors and gossip about the courts of Queen Elizabeth and King James, and they would know when and how Shakespeare was referring to those monarchs and their courts in his plays.

I am sure that Shakespeare inserted hundreds if not thousands of references to the politics of London into his plays. 

For example, Shakespeare's character Sir John Falstaff was most likely a caricature of Henry Brooke, Lord Cobham.

Falstaff's original name was "Oldcastle" which is a reference to Sir John Oldcastle, who was a descendant of Henry Brooke. 

So in a roundabout way, Shakespeare is making fun of Brooke.

In the same way that I didn't understand many of the jokes last night, because I don't live in the D.C. political world, we may never understand all of Shakespeare's political humor since we don't live in London, circa 1600.

So, if you want a good laugh in Washington, D.C. in much the same way that Shakespeare made Londoners laugh 400 years ago, I highly recommend Will on the Hill.


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