Sunday, July 13, 2014

Shakespeare Birthplace Trust distributes relics of the True Cedar Tree in USA

Actor Michael Scott and cast members of the New Orleans Shakespeare Festival production of A Midsummer Night's Dream display their plaque made from a cedar that grew in the garden of Shakespeare's birthplace. Photo courtesy Michael Scott

by Linda Theil


Buoyed by their success touting the Shakespeare beyond Doubt defense against anti-Stratfordian attacks at the Shakespeare Festival in Ontario, Canada last year, the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust returns to North America this summer. In a Jesuitical mission presumably designed to bolster Stratfordians against authorship apostasy, the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust Head of Research and Knowledge Paul Edmondson has been dispatched to America on a two month tour of fourteen Shakespeare festivals in fourteen states.

Accompanied by Paul Prescott, associate professor of English at the University of Warwick, and supported by a truly splendiferous array of mobile media, the Shakespeare missionaries began their tour on the Fourth of July in Kansas City and will end September 1 in Washington DC. A listing of their itinerary is included at the end of this post.

Edmondson said July 3, 2014 in “Shakespeare on the Road” post on the Birthplace Trust website Blogging Shakespeare:
Along the way, we speak to actors, audience members, creatives, community organizers, philanthropists and hot-dog sellers about what Shakespeare means to them and their community. During the next two months we will be gathering together material for a radio documentary, a book, and the international collections of the Shakespeare Centre Library and Archive.
Along their pilgrimage road, Edmondson is presenting each festival organization with a relic of the True Cedar Tree guaranteed to sustain American Shakespeare-lovers against anti-Stratfordian temptation.

Edmondson said:
We will be doing talks at each of the festival venues, telling the story via social media and presenting a 450th birthday gift to each of the festival partners in the form of a plaque from a cedar tree that used to grow in the garden of Shakespeare’s Birthplace (it had to be felled because it was becoming a danger to public safety). We are delighted that Greg Wyatt (Sculptor in Residence at St John the Divine Cathedral, New York) has designed, made and donated these beautiful objects.
Actor Michael Scott reported the New Orleans presentation on Twitter and Instagram on July 10:
Shakespeare on the Road just presented our company with a cedar plaque made from a tree that grew on the grounds of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust in Stratford-Upon-Avon. They are here to experience the New Orleans Shakespeare Festival on a journey to explore Bard in the USA. Follow their journey at www.shakespeareontheroad.com. Come see the last two shows of a Midsummer Night’s Dream this weekend. Tickets at www.neworleansshakespeare.org at The Shakespeare Festival at Tulane.
Edmondson and Prescott are accompanied on their trip by new media gurus A.J. and Melissa Leon of Misfit, Inc. who say on their website:
We have traveled all over the globe and produced workshops for brands and organizations that are dead serious about using the web to tell compelling stories, connect with their tribe and solve interesting problems. Our workshops are not cheap, but they will help you to take over the world. 
Jonathan Fields on the Good Life Project website refers to the couple as ". . . a tactical strike team for really interesting organizations."

The entire trek is being documented on the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust site Blogging Shakespeare, as well as a site dedicated to the project called Shakespeare on the Road. Edmondson and Prescott are sending dispatches from the heartland posted daily to the site, as well as sending messages via a Twitter account titled Bard in the USA @ShakespeareBT, and an Instagram identity, also Bard in the USA.
--
UPDATE: July 14, 2014

For comedien Keir Cutler's view of Stratford's historical obsession with Shakespearean trees, see his new video published yesterday on YouTube titled "Shakespeare Authorship: The Mulberry Tree" at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CoPuDQ1Vabg

* * * 
Resources:
See an Oberon report of Edmondson’s visit to Stratford Ontario last summer at

Shakespeare on the Road posts to date:


Edmondson: Our Partner Festivals and itinerary are as follows:

Heart of America Shakespeare Festival, Kansas City, MO 4 – 6 July 2014
New Orleans Shakespeare Festival at Tulane, New Orleans, LA 9–11 July
Shakespeare at Winedale, Winedale, TX 13 – 15 July
Utah Shakespeare Festival, Cedar City, UT 17 – 19 July
Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum, Topanga, CA 24 – 26 July
Livermore, CA 27 July
Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Ashland, OR 29 – 31 July
Montana Shakespeare Festival, Bozeman, MT 1 – 5 August
Door Shakespeare Festival, Door, WI 7 August
Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, Chicago, IL 8 – 9 August
Harlem Shakespeare Festival, NYC, NY 10 – 14 August
Shakespeare and Co., Lenox, MA 15 – 17 August
Stratford Shakespeare Festival, Stratford, ON 19 – 21 August
Nashville Shakespeare Festival, Nashville, TN 23 – 25 August
American Shakespeare Center, Staunton, VA 27 – 29 August
Shakespeare Theatre Company, Washington DC 29 Aug – 1 Sept




Saturday, July 12, 2014

Trevor-Roper told Ogburn: Stratfordian Shakespeare "implausible"

Hugh Trevor-Roper circa 1980 at Oxford. Photo by Graham Harrison courtesy The Sunday Times


Was Hugh Trevor-Roper an Authorship Doubter?
Letter to Charlton Ogburn, Jr., discovered by Alexander Waugh,
confirms that he was


by Oberon guest blogger John M. Shahan, Chairman of the Shakespeare Authorship Coalition


Most Oxfordians probably know that Hugh Trevor-Roper, (1914-2003) Baron Dacre of Glanton, Regius Professor of History at Oxford University and the British intelligence officer who tracked Hitler during World War II, wrote an article in which he marveled at the strange elusiveness of William Shakespeare. The following famous quote appears in Shakespeare Beyond Doubt? (Shahan and Waugh, eds., 2013) and is paraphrased in the Declaration of Reasonable Doubt:
Of all the immortal geniuses of literature, none is personally so elusive as William Shakespeare. It is exasperating, and almost incredible, that he should be so. After all, he lived in the full daylight of the English Renaissance, in the well-documented reigns of Queen Elizabeth and King James I. He wrote thirty-six plays and [154] highly personal sonnets. He was connected with some of the best-known figures in the most conspicuous court in English history. Since his death, and particularly in the last century, he has been subjected to the greatest battery of organised research that has ever been directed upon a single person. And yet the greatest of all Englishmen, after this tremendous inquisition, still remains so close a mystery that even his identity can still be doubted. (“What’s in a Name?” Réalités, Nov 1962.)
So Trevor-Roper says that Shakespeare’s identity “can still be doubted,” but was he a doubter himself? One might surmise that he probably was, but since he didn’t actually say so it hasn’t been clear, until now. In July 2013, searching through the Trevor-Roper files on Shakespeare in the archives at Christchurch College, Oxford, Alexander Waugh found a letter that Trevor-Roper wrote to Charlton Ogburn, Jr., (1911-1998) dated 21 February, 1981, stating his view. Here are some excerpts:
My view is that the available evidence that the plays and poems were the work of William Shakespeare of Stratford is weak and unconvincing … not a shred of solid evidence connects the man with the works during his lifetime; the association of such works with such a man is, on the face of it, implausible; and the posthumous association of them, in the First Folio and in the Stratford Tomb, is inconclusive since there are legitimate questions concerning the motivation and production of the Folio and the original form of the Tomb. There are many suspicions legitimately adhering to all the later statements associating the man with the works, including the statements of Ben Jonson. Altogether, I consider the evidence of association to be slender, weak and implausible. There is not a single testimony which could not easily be re-interpreted if solid evidence were to turn up that the works were written by another man… In these circumstances of legitimate doubt, I believe that the proper course is to return to square one and examine the problem ab initio, without any preconceptions… I am heretical in that I allow that there is a real problem of authorship… I would not be surprised if evidence were to be discovered which destroyed the orthodox case.
He could hardly have made it any clearer where he stood, and just three years later Ogburn published The Mysterious William Shakespeare: The Myth and the Reality. Reading Trevor-Roper’s letter today, the present generation of Oxfordians can take pride in the fact that such an important British historian shared our doubts about Shakspere and expressed them so well.

* * *

Graham Harrison photo of Hugh Trevor-Roper from The Sunday Times book review "One Hundred Letters from Hugh Trevor-Roper . . . " dated Jan. 26, 2014 http://www.thesundaytimes.co.uk/sto/culture/books/non_fiction/article1365518.ece