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Showing posts from October, 2009

Review of Friday's performance of Richard II by the Rude Mechanicals in Ann Arbor

Annette and I went to see a performance of Richard II yesterday by the Rude Mechanicals, a theatre group in Ann Arbor that casts mostly students as actors. There was a bit of excitement at the performance which I shall now relate. The power went off a few minutes before the play was scheduled to start, it would have been amusing if this was the Power Center, but alas it was the Video Studio. Since they had to cancel the show and we had about 25 minutes before they had to clear the building out due to regulations, the cast decided to do as much of the play as they could as quickly as they could! That was a lot of fun with the actors perfectly enunciating the lines at double the speed. John of Gaunt assured the audience that the upcoming duel between Mowbray and Bolingbroke would unfortunately have to be stopped by King Richard as it was too dangerous to do in double time without adequate electric lighting. I was maliciously hoping that some people who did not know the play well enough w

George Hunter essay

Oberon member George Hunter offers the following essay for readers' consideration. Authorship as a University Discipline: Shakespeare vs The Earl of Oxford The Question      How can authorship become a university discipline? The Solution      Research must have a two-fold interest, one, to deal with matters of general interest to current university disciplines; and second, to also deal with matters of interest to the question of authorship.   Some of this research may already exist.    Examples of Research with a Two-fold Interest.      How does a current theatrical company respond to a new play?  Is the playwright present during rehearsals?  Does the cast offer new dialogue?  How often is there a major rewrite of the play?  Does someone else work the script rather than the playwright?  These are questions of interest to university disciplines but may also throw light on the question of authorship, that is, how could a play, written by Oxford,  be transformed into a theatrica

Richard II in A2 next weekend

Richard II October 23 & 24 Friday at 7:00 p.m. Saturday at 3:00 & 7:00 p.m. Video Studio, Duderstadt Center on North Campus of University of Michigan, Ann Arbor The Rude Mechanicals present William Shakespeare's Richard II, directed by James Manganello and produced by Rebecca Penn Noble. The Rude Mechanicals are a theater troupe dedicated to bringing staged theater to the University of Michigan and the Ann Arbor community and to providing the opportunity for any member of the student body to be involved, be it in performing or behind-the-scenes work. Tickets available at the Michigan Union Ticket Office or at the door; $3 for students and $6 for adults.

The tipping point

University of Michigan English Professor Ralph Williams, 67, is a specialist in Medieval and Renaissance literature. He has spent his life teaching Shakespeare, and was instrumental in creating and developing the Royal Shakespeare Company Residency program at the University of Michigan, according to university sources. A charmer in the lecture hall -- lithe and graceful in a mis-matched, gray suit -- Williams uses his body and voice like an actor. There can be no question that he loves the Bard. “Shakespeare is so intimately wrought in the English language that he is on your breath every day of your life – you speak Shakespeare,” he said from the stage, his voice resonant and intent. On October 12 in Rackham Auditorium, at the first in a series of “Who is . . .” lectures on playwrights whose work is being presented at the university this season, the first words out of Williams mouth are stunning. “Shakespeare is the only one in this series whose historical identity has been calle

2007-08 Oberon yearbook available from

I hope you will be pleased to see that the 2007-08 Oberon yearbook is now available through The 120-page book features all the posts made on the Oberon blog since it's beginning in July 2007. Click on the book poster in the Oberon blog sidebar to see a preview, or go to: . Anyone may order a copy at: . The cost of a softcover edition is $29.95 plus shipping.

Ralph Williams on the turbulent life of Shakespeare

The University Musical Society is holding several events preparatory to their Loves Labors Lost run Oct. 20-25 at the Power Center in Ann Arbor. One may presume the following will NOT be an Oxfordian event. Apparently Professor Williams finds Stratford life turbulent -- although the turbulence in Stratford doesn't seem to be reflected in the plays. I can't imagine this event will be anything but an exercise in imagination: Who is William Shakespeare? Monday, October 12, 7-8:30 pm Rackham Auditorium, 915 East Washington, Ann Arbor UMS’s Who Is…? Series aims to break down the barriers between performer and audience by demystifying the artists behind great work. To kick off the series, UM Professor Ralph Williams will explore the turbulent life and unparalleled work of William Shakespeare, whose legacy has continued to inspire some of the greatest artists of our own time.

Oberon meeting October 7

Dear Oberon,   Don't forget that we are meeting early this month, this coming Wednesday, Oct. 7, at the Farmington Library at 7 p.m.   We will be celebrating the 400th anniversary of the publication of  Shake-speare's Sonnets  in 1609.  Several Oberon members will explore different aspects of the Sonnets. When you leave the meeting, you may appreciate the sonnets as never before.   Come for a fascinating look into the most intimate and personal of all of Shakespeare's writing.  We will see how Shakespeare himself broods about the authorship issue and, in doing so, practically tells us who he is.   Tom Hunter, Oberon Chair

Hunter reports on ALI presentation

Dear Oberon, It is my pleasure to report that approximately 40 members of the Adult Learning Institute graciously, many enthusiastically, attended our Oberon presentation Thursday, October 1, featuring Ron Destro’s “Who Really Wrote Shake-speare?” The Adult Learning Institute is a remarkable organization of 180 senior citizens who attend an impressive, challenging series of lectures, performances, seminars, and other programs about historical, literary, cultural, social and other topics and issues. ALI is affiliated with the Elderhostel Institute Network and sponsored by Oakland Community College which hosts the group’s activities at its Orchard Ridge Campus. In brief opening remarks, I polled the audience. The overwhelming majority of those in attendance raised their hands when asked if they believed that William Shakspere of Stratford wrote the plays attributed to William Shakespeare as we have been taught. A small number of hands went up to indicate those who thought so