Film, TV & Theatre
Last Will & Testament from Folio Pictures is a beautifully shot documentary by Laura and Lisa Wilson about the Authorship Question, featuring interviews with film director Roland Emmerich, and with Shakespearean actors Derek Jacobi, Vanessa Redgrave and Mark Rylance. Available to buy on DVD here.
Cheryl Eagan-Donovan’s film is a feature-length documentary about Edward de Vere, seventeenth Earl of Oxford; A-list party boy on the continental circuit, who spent a year and a half in Venice and travelling in Europe, learning about commedia dell’arte and collecting the experiences that would become the Shakespeare plays. Shot in Venice, Verona, Mantua, Padua and Brenta, the film ventures into actual sites de Vere visited in 1575-76, including the settings for The Merchant of Venice, Othello, Romeo and Juliet and Two Gentlemen of Verona. The film features renowned Shakespeare scholars, actors and directors, including Sir Derek Jacobi, Sir Mark Rylance, Tina Packer and Diane Paulus, and argues that de Vere’s bisexuality is the reason for the pseudonym ‘Shake-speare’. Available to buy on DVD from Controversy Films here.
Series 19, Episode 7: The Only Earl is Essex (Channel 4, 04 March 2012)
‘Tony Robinson and the team rip up the pristine lawns of Paul Whight’s stately home at Earls Colne in Essex in search of the secrets of its illustrious former owners: the de Veres, who built a priory here in the 12th century. They are also hoping to discover the later manor house. There is a rumour that the dissolute 17th Earl of Oxford, Edward de Vere, wrote at least some of William Shakespeare’s plays, and could be buried here, along with his ancestors and descendants.’
George Dillon, the actor who has worked under Steven Berkoff at the NT and played Hamlet, is an Oxfordian whose one-man show The Man who was Hamlet has been critically acclaimed.
A play by Sir Mark Rylance; a fascinating, witty and characteristically exuberant dramatic exploration of the Shakespeare authorship debate. Is it possible that the son of an illiterate tradesman, from a small market town in Warwickshire, could have written the greatest dramatic works the world has ever seen? Sir Mark Rylance is one of a number of leading actors who seriously question the idea that William Shaksper (of Stratford) was the man behind the thirty-seven plays that have moved, inspired and amazed generations. First performed at the Chichester Festival Theatre in 2007, Rylance’s provocative play introduces us to the main candidates and their respective claims whilst asking fundamental questions about what makes a genius and why it all matters anyway. Available to buy from Nick Hern Books here.