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Greg Buse wins SOF $1000 prize for rap video

Chloe Buse on the set of "The Earl of Oxford's March -- Remixed!"

Indiana-based writer/actor Greg Buse won the 2020 Oxfordie for a twerky, little, rap video, "The Earl of Oxford's March -- Remixed!",  produced by Candy Bank Films in Bloomington, Indiana.

Julie Bianchi, chair of the Shakespeare Oxford Fellowship's "Who Wrote Shakespeare?" video-contest committee, announced the $1000 award on October 2, 2020 at the SOF virtual Shakespeare Authorship Symposium, broadcast from the August Family Vinyards in Napa County, California.

Buse said, "I was watching the symposium live, along with my family members who are in the video, and all of us were thrilled!"

"The Earl of Oxford's March -- Remixed!"

When not working his main hustle as Indiana University presidential speechwriter -- crafting the message for IU President Michael McRobbie -- Buse wrote and performed the Oxfordian rap along with family cast members: spouse Natalie Buse, daughter Chloe Buse, son Sam Buse and family pup Wolfie. Natalie and Chloe directed the production under the auspices of their company Candy Bank Films, with Sam as actor/cinematographer.

Chloe Buse, Sam Buse, and Natalie Buse on the set of "The Earl . . ." 

How does a mild-mannered, master word-crafter by day transform to rapper Kool EO under lockdown? Therein lies a tale we asked Greg Buse to tell.

Oberon: Why did you do it?
Buse: As a long-time Oxfordian, I have wanted to enter the Shakespeare Oxford Fellowship's video contest since its inception in 2017, but never quite knew what to do. I did know that if I ever submitted an entry, I would want it to be both informative and entertaining. In the last year or so, I was introduced to the wonderful BBC children's show, Horrible Histories. A great rap song of theirs about Charles II provided some inspiration. Then, in October of last year, I was driving around town listening to an episode of  Don't Quill the Messenger on which Bonner Miller Cutting was a guest. I wrote most of the lyrics in my head in just a few minutes while listening to that episode.

Oberon: Have you done other music videos?
Buse: I play acoustic guitar and my main musical interest is contemporary folk. This is the first music video I've ever made. As I edited and revised the lyrics, I felt that they needed to breathe a bit. The instrumental riff from Will Smith's theme from The Fresh Prince of Bel Air was in my head all along; and I decided to use the opening measures of William Byrd's "The Earl of Oxford's March", which I recreated using GarageBand, as an interstitial theme.

Oberon: Who are the witches? They are freakin' hilarious.
Buse: The video features my family: my daughter, Chloe Buse, who is a senior at Indiana University majoring in studio art with minors in art history and Japanese; my son, Sam Buse, who did quadruple duty as the robber, the would-be executioner, a witch, and cinematographer; and their mother, Natalie Buse, who is also an alumna of the IU Theatre Department, where she studied acting. Candy Bank Productions, as mentioned in the credits, is the independent film production company of Chloe and Natalie, who make short films together -- generally in the horror genre or comedy/horror. Sam is generally involved, too, as best boy/gaffer/lighting assistant/cinematographer, but Chloe and Natalie are the writers/directors/actors.

They've had a number of short films screened at the David Lynch Twin Peaks Festival, and they have been involved for two or three years in the Ax Wound Film Festival, one of the premier US film festivals for women in horror. Natalie hosts as "Rowena Gangrena", a character she developed. They've received a number of awards as well. You can read more about their work and see some of their short films on their site at Candy Bank Films.

I wrote the DeVere rap and created the music using GarageBand, but I couldn't have done this without them and their filmmaking expertise. They are currently working on "The Finger Witch", a short horror film with a Christmas theme.

Oberon: How long did it take? Who did the costumes and sets?
Buse: We shot the video in our home over a couple of evenings this summer -- right before the entry deadline, in fact. Chloe and Natalie were editing it right up until the deadline, September 20, 2020.

I painted a wall of a spare room in our basement chroma key green to facilitate the green screen backgrounds. Chloe and Natalie plan to make use of it in future film projects. 

Natalie and I either made the costumes and props from scratch or altered things we had on hand. I made the doublet I wore mostly out of things I had around the house. My ruff and Wolfie the dog's ruff are made from coffee filters! I also made the giant scythe, DeVere's boar pendant, and the would-be executioner's hood and cloak. Chloe and Natalie already had a number of witchy costume elements on hand from their previous film projects.

Oberon: Are you interested in the authorship question?
Buse: I have been an Oxfordian for more than 35 years. I came to Indiana for graduate school in 1984. One of my first semester classes was a course on research methods with Eugene K Bristow, who was well-know as a translator of Anton Chekov's plays. Dr. Bristow passed away in 1990.

Students in this class had to do a semester-long bibliography project, during which we catalogued and summarized books in the IU Library on a particular topic. I had played Horatio in a production of Hamlet at the University of Oklahoma. In my research for that role, I came across the apocryphal story that Shakespeare was, for some reason, angry with the actor who played Horatio in the original production of Hamlet and wrote him out of a significant portion of the play. So, I proposed to Dr. Bristow that I would investigate Shakespeare's acting company, in part, to find out if there was any truth to this story. He shut that down quickly, saying, "There's not enough information available." And, of course, he was right.

But he asked if I had ever heard of the theory that someone other than the man from Stratford had written the plays. I had vaguely heard of the authorship question at that time, but didn't put much stock in it. Nevertheless, I reluctantly agreed to make it the focus of my research project. In hindsight, I can't think of a better way to get a broad overview of the authorship question. At that time, the IU Library had a very good collection of books on the topic, perhaps partly because Dr. Bristow, who was an Oxfordian, was on the faculty.

During that semester, I reviewed the major works on Baconian ciphers, Hoffman's The Man Who Was Shakespeare which advocates for Marlowe, Looney's Shakespeare Identified, B.M. Ward's biography of Oxford, and many others. By the end of that class, I was pretty much convinced that the man fro Stratford was not the author of the plays and poems, and that Edward DeVere was the most likely candidate.

Soon after, to my great excitement, the Frontline episode on the topic aired -- I still have a VHS copy I recorded of the original airing -- and Charlton Ogburn Jr.'s book The Mysterious William Shakespeare was published.  My belief that Oxford wrote the works of Shakespeare has only solidified over the years.

Earl of Oxford’s March Remixed

by Greg Buse

Well let me introduce myself,

I’m Edward de Vere.

You might know me better

By the pen name, Shake-speare.

My people are the oldest

British nobles in the mix.

We came with the Conqueror

in 1066!

I was maxin’ and relaxin’ 

outside Castle Hedingham,

when a couple ’a things

went down with my fam.

So, I was raised in William Cecil’s house—

that guy was stiff as wood. 

Satirized him as Polonious

as only I could. 

He had a big library

and a daughter named Anne,

and he was pretty much Elizabeth’s 

Game of Thrones Hand.

I was married to his daughter, 

Ophelia — I mean Anne.

It was kinda rough and rocky

and before too long I ran —

to travel Italy and France,

knew the languages, of courses.

That’s how I read the untranslated works

that were my sources!

And while I was in Venice,

saw a painting of Adonis.

And just like in the poem I wrote,

he wore a little bonnet. 

And on my way back home,

like Hamlet, set upon by pirates.

Left me naked on the beach like him.

This isn’t rocket science.

At Gad’s Hill my mates and I 

robbed the queen’s receivers,

just like in Henry 4, Part One.

And you’re still non-believers? 

The “bed trick” has now become

theatrical cliché.

Well, it was pulled on me

and it’s in four of my plays!

Got a thousand pound annuity 

from “Q.E. One.”

That’s like a million bucks a year today,

that’s right, son.

Didn’t have to account 

For what I did with the money. 

So, let me fill you in

‘Cause it may seem kinda funny. 

At Fisher’s Folly gathered 

University Wits.

Mentored Lyly, Munday, Nashe, and Greene,

A playwriting blitz!

Led a literary movement, 

Brought the Renaissance to Britain,

Revitalized the language

with the plays that I had written. 

Taught Brits about their his’try, 

bolstered national pride, 

at a time with queen and country

under threat from all sides.

Wrote the plays, poems, and sonnets.

Didn’t even get beheaded.

“Name be buried where my body is”

‘Coz I don’t need no credit.

Nothing is Truer than Truth, witches.

Witch 1: Why’s he always gotta drag us into it?

Witch 2: I dunno. But it’s hurtful.

Witch 1: It really is.  (DANCE BREAK!)


Earl of Oxford's March Remixed,

SOF video contest,

Bianchi presentation,

Candy Bank Films,

Don't Quill . . . w/Bonner Miller Cutting,

Frontline 1989 The Shakespeare Mystery,

IU Index Michael McRobbie speeches,

Horrible Histories, Charles II King of Bling,

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