Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Is Shakespeare the 17th Century Milli Vanilli?

USA Today published an article from AP about the reopening of the debate of the authorship of the plays attributed to Shakespeare.

"Acclaimed actor Derek Jacobi and Mark Rylance, the former artistic director of Shakespeare's Globe Theater in London, unveiled a "Declaration of Reasonable Doubt" on the authorship of Shakespeare's work Saturday, following the final matinee of I am Shakespeare, a play investigating the bard's identity, in Chichester, southern England."

The part that floors me is that my favorite actor of all time, Derek Jacobi, is part of the cadre. With his in depth knowledge of several plays, many from the perspective of multiple characters (like both Hamlet and Claudius is different adaptations of Hamlet), he actually probably knows what he is talking about.

"I subscribe to the group theory. I don't think anybody could do it on their own," Jacobi said. "I think the leading light was probably de Vere, as I agree that an author writes about his own experiences, his own life and personalities."

Is it possible that Billy, as I affectionately call him, doesn't exist as we think? Is it possible that one of the main reasons I entered the field of English is the seventeenth century equivalent to Milli Vanilli?

"The declaration names 20 prominent doubters of the past, including Mark Twain, Orson Welles, Sir John Gielgud and Charlie Chaplin."
Orson Welles also shocks me. But it also makes a bit of sense. Couldn't Shakespeare be one guy? Does that limit artistic genius? Why can Mozart write symphonies at the age of 4 but Shakespeare couldn't write these things? Could Billy not encompass more than his own meager experiences, life, and personalities? What does this mean to us all?

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