SOF Trustee Don Rubin worked hard to insure the “Authorship Appeal” moot court held yesterday at the Stratford Festival would not become derisive of Shakespeare authorship skeptics, and he succeeded. Although the debate topic — whether there is sufficient evidence to refute the claim that Shakespeare was the principal author of the canon — was presented in a non-rigorous, lighthearted fashion, the tone was respectful to doubters.
“We had an impact,”Rubin said, of his work with the attorney who represented the anti-Stratfordian position, Guy Pratte of the firm Borden Ladner Gervais, LLP, a highly regarded attorney who is a member of the Shakespeare Festival board. Rubin met with and consulted with Pratte on the anti-Strat position. Before the event Pratte reported to Rubin that he had spent 100 hours researching the case against Shaksper of Stratford — a hefty legal bill were this case not pro bono! Rubin said:
From our standpoint, at least [the program] did not attack the authorship people. I think that our participation was at least neutralizing that. There was respect given by the judges and particularly the supreme court judge.
The Right Honorable Madam Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin of the Supreme Court of Canada, concluded the moot court proceedings by saying:
We must all have doubt. and so I take my refuge in that great solace of the judge which is the burden of proof. We have a presumption in this case — a presumption confirmed by many centuries of erudition — that William Shakespeare of Stratford-on-Avon is the author of the plays and the sonnets. It is the burden, regrettably, of Mr. Pratte and his client to rebut that presumption. . . . I must, like my colleagues, find that the evidence is unclear. . . . . So, saddened as I am — and I do hope that my friend who was counting on resolving this question once and for all will forgive me — I take my final refuge in the words of Oliver Wendell Holmes: “Certainty is an illusion, and repose is not the destiny of man.” Nor, sadly it seems of woman. (1:10:38)
This outcome, Rubin said, was not as good as he hoped, nor as bad as he feared. Rubin said:
I was pleased that the chief justice’s final statement was that there are no certainties. I think the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust people can’t be happy with that. They believe there is absolutely no doubt and doubt was certainly raised.
Rubin and his wife Patricia Keeney attended a star-studded dinner the evening before the moot court where they joined Canada’s legal elite, former MP Bob Rae, singer Loreena McKennitt, and CBC News chief anchor Peter Mansbridge, among other luminaries.
After the moot court on Saturday Rubin and Keeney met with a dozen anti-Strats from Canada and the U.S. at Demetre’s in Stratford where Rubin revealed that he has been consulting with Pratte and Stratford Festival Artistic Director Antoni Cimolino about a future authorship event.
Guy Pratte and I are talking about the possibility of hosting a full-blown trial — along the lines proposed by John Shahan and the SAC — in 2016 at Stratford. There is interest in the possibility, but something like that is still a long way off. I am hoping.
Those present at lunch included: Priscilla Costello, Sky Gilbert, Lynne Kositsky, Michael Kositsky, Justin Borrow, Ann Zakelj, Matthew Wyneken, Ted Alexander, Linda Theil, and Chris Pannell. Ron Halstead also attended the event, but was unable to join the group at Demetre’s.
When asked about his response to the day’s event, anti-Strat Justin Borrow, who writes for The Theatre Reader said,
The set up of today’s event was not what I, or many other Oxfordians, were expecting. However, if there is anything positive we can take away, it is that 700 people turned up to hear about the authorship question and that shows progress.
Guy Pratte commented on the topic of the “Authorship Appeal” and ably discussed the authorship question on the October 3, 2014 CBC radio show Ontario Morning. Podcast at http://podcast.cbc.ca/mp3/podcasts/ontariomorning_20141003_28162.mp3 (Guy Pratte’s interview at mark 33:15.)
The entire “Authorship Appeal” event was live-streamed from Stratford and can be viewed on YouTube under the title “Authorship Appeal/The Forum/Stratford Festival”[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_video title=”“Authorship Appeal“ Stratford, Ontario, Oct. 4, 2014″ link=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=cMYxq53hztk”][/vc_column][/vc_row]