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The Shakespeare Authorship Question Comes to GableStage

Tom Regnier gave his presentation, “Did Shakespeare Really Write Shakespeare? Or Did Someone Else?” on April 11, 2016 in Coral Gables, Florida at the GableStage theatre. A video of the event is now available on the Shakespeare Oxford Fellowship YouTube Channel:

GableStage, located at the historic Biltmore Hotel, is one of the most highly regarded theatre companies in Florida. It has been nominated for the Carbonell Award (the equivalent of the Tony Award in the thriving South Florida theatre community) 197 times and has won the award 59 times. Producing Artistic Director Joseph Adler, who introduced Tom’s presentation, has received 24 nominations and has won the Carbonell award for Best Director 10 times. Mr. Adler has long been interested in the Shakespeare authorship question and had no hesitation in agreeing to Tom’s offer to give his presentation at GableStage. About 100 people attended the talk, which was given on the set usually occupied by the GableStage production of A Minister’s Wife, a musical version of Shaw’s Candida. (It was a Monday night, so there was no performance that evening.) Tom dedicated the presentation to the late Marzi Kaplan, who had been his teacher at the University of Miami School of Law. Marzi encouraged him to pursue his interest in the authorship question, and his first paper on Shakespeare, law, and the authorship question was written in her class.

Joseph Adler (l.),Tom Regnier (r.) on set at GableStage

Joseph Adler (l.),Tom Regnier (r.) on set at GableStage

In his brief introduction, Mr. Adler mentioned that GableStage has for years been presenting Shakespeare plays at local public schools and has now performed Shakespeare to an estimated one million students. Tom followed with his powerpoint presentation, which lasted slightly over an hour and was punctuated by occasional pop quiz questions in which audience members won authorship-related books by correctly identifying which Shakespearean character said a certain line. Tom’s talk detailed the reasons why it is improbable that William Shakspere of Stratford wrote the plays and poems that are attributed to him and then offered evidence for the candidate whom he believed to be the most likely author. A lively question and answer session followed. “I just wish you weren’t so convincing,” said an audience member near the end of the Q&A session.

Afterwards, Joseph Adler told Tom, “I was enormously impressed with your presentation. It was spellbinding and beautifully delivered. I think you should consider doing a TED Talk.” He later added, “I wish I’d had lecturers like you when I was studying theatre.” A few days later, Mr. Adler signed the Declaration of Reasonable Doubt, which summarizes the case against the Stratford man and has been signed by many other notable people, including actors Derek Jacobi, Mark Rylance, and Michael York and former Supreme Court Justices John Paul Stevens and Sandra Day O’Connor.

Tom wishes to thank: Joseph Adler and GableStage for their gracious hospitality; George Wentzler of Just In Time productions, who videotaped the event; Bonner and Jack Cutting, who generously underwrote the videography costs; and the audience for being so open-minded and attentive.

[posted April 30, 2016]
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