Monday, June 20, 2011

Oberon yearbook for 2010 available now

Yes, that's Lynne Kositsky and her husband Michael on the cover of the Oberon Shakespeare Study Group yearbook for 2010 -- now available to order from Blurb. The yearbook contains copies of all the posts from our Oberon web-log for the entire year of 2010. This is the third in the series of yearbooks that chronicle the news and ideas of Oberon and the Shakespeare authorship community. The preview above allows readers to examine the entire 120-page book, and a permanent preview badge will be included in this web-log's sidebar for future reference. The cost of the publication in paperback is $34.95 plus shipping; Oberon receives no part of the cost of the book which goes entirely to the on-demand publisher, Blurb. 

2010 highlights include:
Was Shakespeare gay?
Richard Joyrich speaks to Lanier claim to Shakespeare authorship
Who is this baby?
90 posts in all

Tom Hunter says Oberon meets June 23, 2011

Oberon Chair Tom Hunter says:

While taking time off for Father's Day (my favorite gift--an hour of peace and quiet -- this is easy on the credit card) and for our nephew's birthday this weekend, I didn't e-mail you the heads-up for our June 23 meeting this Thursday evening at the Farmington Community Library at 32737 W. Twelve Mile Rd. between Orchard Lake Rd. and Farmington Rd. at 7 p.m.
So here it is!
First, we will be hearing some amazing news from the Anonymous film people.  This is, of course, the feature length Roland Emmerich film about how DeVere came to be Shakespeare. Anticipation and excitement are building for this event. Come hear how we Oberoners will be involved!
Plus we have our next exciting installment in our voyage through The Merchant of Venice. This will be a crucial part of the story, how the play is no funky, weird, mean exercise in filling the seats of London theaters but how it was written for the quite opposite purpose as an appeal to the humanitarian instincts which will allow human beings to put aside their hatreds and come together as one. You will hear about Shakespeare as you have never heard about him before.
Plus, plus we have our regular features as we hear from what our various members have been up to.
Looking forward to seeing everyone again Thursday night!
Tom Hunter
Oberon Chair

Friday, June 17, 2011

SF weighs in on Anonymous and Prince Tudor

Shakespeare Fellowship president Earl Showerman reported Tuesday (June 14, 2011) that the fellowship has issued a statement about Roland Emmerich's upcoming film on the Shakespeare authorship question, Anonymous. Showerman said:
A majority of the trustees of the Shakespeare Fellowship recently approved a statement regarding the anticipated plot of Roland Emmerich's feature film, Anonymous. This statement will be published later this year in Shakespeare Matters, the newsletter of the Shakespeare Fellowship.
The entire statement is available on the Shakespeare Fellowship News page under the title "SF board re: Prince Tudor: The Shakespeare Fellowship commends Roland Emmerich for directing the film, Anonymous, but stresses that this production’s 'Prince Tudor' narratives are not essential to the theory that the Earl of Oxford was the writer 'Shakespeare.'"

UPDATE 7/15/11: This statement was repudiated by the SF board July 15, 2011. See "Fellowship shoves genie back in bottle".

SF News article "SF board re: Prince Tudor . . ."
SF discussion forums:
SF newsletter Shakespeare Matters
Brief Chronicles Interdisciplinary Journal of Authorship Studies:

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Anonymous debut moved to Oct. 28, 2011

According to IMDb site Box Office Mojo, Roland Emmerich's film Anonymous -- an historical thriller about the Shakespeare authorship question -- will be released on October 28, 2011 instead of the September 30, 2011 date previously announced.

Keir Cutler premiers new show in Montreal

Actor and playwright Keir Cutler premiered a new, one-act play June 11, 2011 at the Montreal Fringe Festival 2011. The two-man show, Teaching Hamlet, with Culter and Brett Watson will run through June 19, 2011 at Fire Station No. 14 in Montreal. The show was mentioned yesterday in an article titled "Montreal Fringe Festival: Even eccentrics are as good as their word" by Pat Donnelly in the Montreal Gazette. Donnelly said:
Teaching Hamlet: Keir Cutler's latest variation on the wacky Shakespearean professor theme pits the Oxfordians (those who believe Edward de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford, wrote the Complete Works) against the Stratfordians (those who believe Shakespeare wrote his own plays). A fanatic Oxfordian scholar (Cutler) lures a young actor (Brett Watson), currently starring in Hamlet, into his studio to record a pro-Oxfordian video for cash. He claims the board of directors of his organization is watching from the control booth. What ensues is an intelligent, hilarious word wrangle over authorship of the plays, as the worlds of theatre and academia are cleverly juxtaposed.
We wonder if Cutler might have been inspired by his experience creating the pro-Oxfordian video, "Shakespeare Authorship Question: Why was I never told this?" that he recorded last fall for the Shakespeare Authorship Coalition. We would really like to know who might have been the inspiration for the fanatic Oxfordian scholar.

Cutler will be performing Teaching Hamlet at the Montreal Fringe Festival through June 19, 2011; schedule below.
Teaching Hamlet by Keir Cutler
at the Montreal Fringe Festival 2011.
An actor and an intellect face-off over Shakespeare and Hamlet.
Starring Brett Watson and Keir Cutler, directed by Paul Hopkins.
All performances at Fire Station No. 14, 4247 St-Dominique (just north of Rachel)
Sat. June 11 @ 23:00, Sun. June 12 @ 17:00 Mon. June 13 @ 19:45, Tue. June 14 @ 22:45, Fri. June 17 @ 18:15, Sat. June 18 @ 20:00, Sun. June 19 @ 15:00.

Keir Cutler's video about the Shakespeare authorship question "Why was I never told this?":
Festival info about Keir Cutler's Teaching Hamlet:
Keir Cutler's website:
Pat Donnelly in Montreal Gazette June 15, 2011
Charlebois Post: pre-fringe article re: Cutler
Charlebois Post June 12, 2011 Review of Teaching Hamlet

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Watch June 6, 2011 Shakespeare Authorship Debate on ESU website

English-Speaking Union events manager Susan Conway reported today that Sony has given the ESU permission to post the video of the Shakespeare Authorship Debate held June 6, 2011 in London. The one-hour film may be viewed at the ESU web site on the post titled: Shakespeare Authorship Debate

The June 6, 2011 ESU post describes the event, "The ESU hosted the event in conjunction with Sony Pictures, the ESU and the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust to coincide with the release of multi-award-winning director Emmerich's latest film, Anonymous."

Conway said today, "The response to the event has been overwhelming -- it is clear that the topic is a hugely topical and relevant issue." 

ESU website:
Oberon post announcing live-streamed debate:
Oberon post reporting on debate:

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Edmondson pitches a fit

The Sunday Mercury online edition published an article today titled "Row over new Shakespeare film which claims Bard did not write his plays" by Ben Goldby. Shakespeare Birthplace Trust education director Paul Edmondson is quoted throughout the short article railing against Anonymous, Roland Emmerich's forthcoming film about the Shakespeare authorship question. Edmondson, who took part in Monday's debate on the topic at the English Speaking Union, told The Mercury:
This may well provoke debate, but the point we are making is that there is no debate. It is historical fact that William Shakespeare wrote these plays. When I first heard about this film I thought, ‘we have to do something and get the real story of Shakespeare out there’.
Several questions occur to this reader regarding Edmondson's comments to The Mercury:

  • Does Edmondson find it odd to insist there is no debate after taking part in a high-profile debate?
  • Since when do academics take to the airwaves in concern that the public might be deceived by inaccuracies in a feature film?
  • How much more influence could the Shakespeare establishment possibly have over the hearts and minds of the public -- is world-wide icon status not sufficient?
  • Instead of repeatedly saying, "No, no, no, no!", why doesn't the Shakespeare establishment say, "Yes, yes, yes!" Even arch-conservative traditionalists admit information on the Stratfordian candidate is sparse -- perhaps not sparse enough, in their opinion, to doubt the attribution, but why isn't research on the topic of authorship useful and welcome? We study every other topic in the universe, why is Shakespeare authorship the only exception?
June 12, 2011 report in Sunday Mercury:
Oberon report on ESU debate:

Oberon colleague Susan Nenadic will teach Shakespeare authorship controversy in Ann Arbor

Oberon colleague Susan Nenadic of Ann Arbor will teach a Lifelong Learning non-credit class on the Shakespeare Authorship Controversy at Washtenaw Community College this fall. Four weekly sessions from 6-8 p.m. will begin September 20 and run through October 11, 2011 on the Ypsilanti campus of WCC. Registration information will be available when the fall classes are posted July 13, 2011 on the college website at:

Nenadic taught history and English in Saline Area Schools. Since her retirement in 2004, she has taught women’s history for non-credit programs at WCC, the University of Michigan, and Eastern Michigan University. She has completed a book about nineteenth-century working women titled A Purse of Her Own, and is currently consulting with a publisher.

Recently, while discussing ideas for non-credit classes at WCC, a new administrator asked: “What else can you say about Shakespeare?” Nenadic replied, “I can tell you he didn’t write the plays.”

Friday, June 10, 2011

Strats and anti-Strats collide in London

While the public waits for Sony to approve release of “The Shakespeare Authorship Debate with Roland Emmerich” video recorded live at the English-Speaking Union (ESU) in London on June 6, 2011, interested readers may read Stanley Wells’ and Paul Edmondson’s debate speeches on the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust’s site, Blogging Shakespeare.

Shakespeare Birthplace Trust chairman Professor Stanley Wells CBE and trust education director Rev. Dr. Paul Edmondson along with University of London professor Michael Dobson formed the Stratfordian triumvirate at the ESU debate. Anonymous director Roland Emmerich, author Charles Beauclerk, and Dr. William Leahy who is head of the English Dept. at Brunel University where he runs the graduate program in Shakespeare authorship studies defended the anti-Stratfordian position. 

The debate chairman was former head of speech and debate at ESU, James Probert, who congenially refereed the proposition: "This House Believes that William Shakespeare of Stratford-Upon-Avon wrote the plays and poems attributed to him." All six participants were allowed a five-minute speech to be followed by questions from the audience. The impressive teaser-trailer from Roland Emmerich's film of the Shakespeare authorship, Anonymous, kicked off the event. 

Roland Emmerich began the program with a description of his artistic process in bringing the story of the Shakespeare authorship to life.
The more I got into it, I realized there is a whole trove of unknown facts which could be unearthed. It makes a good story. And I’m a storyteller. As a storyteller you want to make something incredibly eye opening for the audience. I would say that Shakespeare didn’t wrote the play is only one scandal that this movie unearths. 

Well, now we know where he gets his ideas (??)

It seems like the Stratfordians are trying again to find something, ANYTHING, that can tie their man to the plays written using the name William Shakespeare.

Researchers in Oxford have now uncovered a 1569 coroner's report of a two and a half year old girl who drowned in a mill pond while picking marigolds in a small village 20 miles from Stratford-upon-Avon.

Her name: Jane Shaxpere

Wow! It seems that the five year old William heard about an accident in a "neighboring" village (20 miles away is really a journey of at least a few days), remembered it, and then put it in a play he was working on about thirty years later (to use the Stratfordian chronology of when Hamlet was written).

Well, I for one, can now rest easy, knowing that this nagging question has been answered in such a satisfying manner.

Oh, by the way, Jane Shaxpere was "almost certainly" related to William Shaxpere (or Shakspere, or Shagspiere, etc) according to these same researchers/

The fullest account of this "discovery" that I know of is at the following link:

Other accounts are at

This last article is interesting in its last line: "Gunn [one of the researchers] added: 'We also have a lady who had an accident called Elizabeth Bennett, but we are not making any literary claims there.'"

Well, why not? Couldn't Jane Austen also have been reading the coroners reports of the mid 16th century (just as the five year old William Shakspere apparently did) when she was searching for a name for one of her own works. Hmm?

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Anonymous premiers at Concordia U.

Roland Emmerich's Shakespeare authorship film, Anonymous, will debut at the Shakespeare Authorship Studies Conference held Sept 6-9, 2011 at Concordia University, home of the Shakespeare Authorship Research Centre headed by Daniel Wright, PhD. Wright said:
I hope that many people will come here to the conference to see Emmerich while he is in the USA and on the Concordia University campus, and I hope that, accordingly, they will sign up for the conference to see the film and participate in the proceedings of the conference which will include discussion and Q&A time with Roland Emmerich and various Shakespeare scholars. It's the rarest of opportunities and of great historic import - a moment that will not return again! We think it a great investment in opening the discussion up to a broader community that should yield some far-reaching results for the Shakespeare authorship question in the USA. . . . Emmerichs appearance at CU is, I believe, the first of any plans (I have no idea if Emmerich has any other plans - I know his time is extremely short in the run-up to the public release) for Emmerich and his film to appear, this early, anywhere in the world, but I believe this will be the world premier of Anonymousto the best of my knowledge.
Separate tickets will not be available for the Anonymous premier, tentatively scheduled for the afternoon of September 7, 2011. The cost of the four-day conference is $315, with an optional awards banquet, at which Roland Emmerich will speak, for $75. Registrants may sign-up online.

The announcement of Anonymous debut from Shakespeare Authorship Research Centre Director Daniel Wright, PhD:

I am pleased to announce that the 15th Annual Shakespeare Authorship Studies Conference at Concordia University will convene this Autumn - from September 6 - 9, 2011 - and that the conference will feature a privileged premier for all conference registrants of the later-in-the-autumn-to-be-released film, Anonymous - the much-anticipated film by Roland Emmerich that explores the Shakespeare Authorship Question from the perspective that Edward de Vere was the pseudonymous author of the Shakespeare canon. (To view a preview of the film, see, amongst other sites,

Acclaimed director Roland Emmerich will be in attendance at this conference to receive, at the Awards Banquet, the university's annually-conferred Distinguished Achievements in the Arts Award, as well as to introduce the film and comment on it  in a half-hour presentation afterwards. Additionally, he will participate in a panel to field and discuss questions about the film in an extensive forum following his post-film presentation.

The conference will feature a series of workshops, panels, discussion groups, study-and-research sessions, and other break-out forums to enable as much interactivity and participation by conference registrants as possible. Papers will be presented by several speakers, in addition to Mr Emmerich, by Prof Michael Egan, Prof Alan Nelson, Prof Daniel Wright, Sylvia Holmes, authors Sally Mosher, Charles Beauclerk, Hank Whittemore and many others. A posthumous award of Distinguished Scholarship will be conferred on the late Richard Paul Roe, author of the forthcoming (in November) The Shakespeare Guide to Italy: Retracing the Bard's Unknown Travels, a book for which I was pleased to write the Introduction.

The conference will convene on the evening of Tuesday, September 6 at 6:00pm and will close at 4:00pm on Friday, September 9. I hope to see all of you here for this grand, much-anticipated event in Shakespeare Authorship inquiry history! Be a part of a this momentous turning point in the Shakespeare inquiry - and perhaps come home with a photo of you with Mr Emmerich!

You can register for the Conference and the Awards Banquet on the SARC website, the homepage of which, of course, is

Prof Daniel Wright, Ph.D., Director, The Shakespeare Authorship Research Centre Concordia University Portland, OR 97211-6099

Shakespeare Birthplace Trust to hold online conference about Shakespeare authorship

The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust will host an online conference about Shakespeare authorship to be held in August 2011. The conference is limited to 1000 participants. Those who are interested in participating may sign up now at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust website or at The contact person for the event Elizabeth Woledge said there are two authorship projects in the works, " . . .  the 60 Minutes with Shakespeare is 60 short recordings of people answering questions related to the question of Shakespearean authorship; the on-line conference is happening a little later." 

Monday, June 6, 2011

Anonymous debate at ESU streamed live from London today

The Shakespeare Authorship Debate with Roland Emmerich at the English-Speaking Union (ESU) in London will be streamed live on the ESU website  beginning at 7:30 p.m. tonight, according to ESU events manager, Susan Conway. (2:30 p.m. EST, DST in USA)

Conway said 120 people will be in attendance and 20 names are on a waiting list for the program featuring Anonymous director Roland Emmerich, Shakespeare Birthplace Trust chairman Stanley Wells, trust education director Paul Edmondson, and Brunel University School of Arts head William Leahy who will debate the Shakespeare Authorship question. According to the ESU website the motion for debate is: "This House Believes that William Shakespeare of Stratford-Upon-Avon wrote the plays and poems attributed to him."

The event is being held in conjunction with Sony Pictures, the ESU and the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust at the ESU headquarters at Dartmouth House in London, UK. The event will begin with a reception at 7 p.m. tonight, June 6, 2011. The debate will begin at 7:30 p.m. London time, or 2:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Daylight Savings in the USA. The ESU website says there will be opportunity for audience members to ask questions and make speeches.

Conway said the event is being filmed by Sony Pictures, and she cannot confirm if copies of the film will be available for purchase, but will keep us informed. Conway said the streamed version will continue to be available on the ESU website.

The English-Speaking Union is an international charity founded in 1918 to promote international understanding and friendship through the use of the English language.

Comments about the debate after the event will be posted on Oberon. If you wish to submit a comment, send email to linda.theil at

Saturday, June 4, 2011

The Globe coming to movie theaters near you

Christopher Benjamin as Falstaff in 2008 The Globe production

NCM Fathom, the company that brings us the New York Metropolitan Opera Live in HD and the Los Angeles Philharmonic Live, is now featuring pre-recorded performances from London's The Globe theater beginning at 6:30 p.m. June 27, 2011 with the 2008 production of Merry Wives of Windsor directed by Christopher Luscombe with Christopher Benjamin as Falstaff. (Read an Oct. 2008 review at OnlineReviewLondon.) This is the same production that toured in New York City in August, 2010. The plays will be shown in local cineplexes distributed by Arts Alliance Media in the UK and Fathom in the USA. Information from the FathomEvents website says: 
NCM Fathom, Globe Theatre and Arts Alliance Media present a four part series of Classical Shakespeare titles in movie theaters nationwide this summer and fall. Captured in 2010 from the prestigious and internationally renowned Globe Theatre in London, the series will begin in June with The Merry Wives of Windsor followed by Henry IV Part 1, Henry IV Part 2 and closes in September with Henry VIIIEach performance will include a historical perspective on the Globe, the reconstruction process, the work of the Globe today, and a behind-the-scenes look at each production with interviews from the actors and creative team involved.
Shakespeare’s Globe London Cinema Series consists of four in-theater events:-Monday, June 27th – The Merry Wives of Windsor-Monday, August 1st – Henry IV Part 1-Thursday, August 18th – Henry IV Part 2-Thursday, September 15th – Henry VIII
Local Michigan theaters where the plays will be shown include the following:
Commerce Township 14
AMC Livonia 20
Ann Arbor 20 IMAX