ABOUT THE PLAY
The deadline for Will Shakespeare’s new play, Romeo and Ethel the Pirate’s Daughter, is overdue because Will is suffering a dreadful case of writer’s block. An arranged marriage between the stuffy Lord Wessex and the beautiful stage-struck Viola is also quickly approaching its deadline. Viola will stop at nothing to appear in Shakespeare’s play even though it is illegal for women to take the stage, so she disguises herself as Thomas Kent. Amidst mistaken identities, backstage antics, and onstage drama, Will finds his muse in Viola. Their passionate and forbidden love affair inspires Will to write his masterpiece - Romeo and Juliet. This romantic adventure of love, drama, and comedy is sure to equally delight Shakespeare fans and those who typically shy away from the Bard.
The play premiered in London’s West End in 2014. It then played to sold out houses during the 2016 Stratford (Ontario, Canada) Festival. Its first U.S. production was at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in February of 2017. It returned to the UK for a tour beginning in Bath in October 2018. It has been one of the most widely produced plays for the last two seasons at regional theatres across the U.S. Shakespeare in Love is based on the 1998 movie of the same name. It won Oscars for Best Picture, Best Screenplay, Best Art Direction, Best Costume Design, and Best Original Music among others. Numerous additional awards came from the Golden Globes, BAFTA Awards, Screen Actors Guild Awards and many more.
ABOUT THE PRODUCTION
Director Roger DeLaurier is delighted by this fictional story that assumes to take a snapshot of young Will Shakespeare as he is just starting out, just starting to make his name, before he was connected to his company and before he created his great plays. “We see him right on the cusp of fame and we see where Romeo and Juliet comes from in his life experiences. We know that this is pure fiction, but it’s a delightful one.” The authors’ imaginations take cues from things known about Shakespeare’s life and inflates them, filling in gaps that explore what it means for Will to fall in love, really profoundly, after a very young marriage to an older woman. DeLaurier said that we don’t know how much love was in that relationship, but we do know they lived apart for a lot of the time. So what happens if Shakespeare actually falls in love? That’s where the story starts.
The setting includes an Elizabethan playhouse with a backdrop of London’s cityscape of the era and the costumes are going “full tilt Elizabethan” that reflect a very specific time and place in Shakespeare’s lifetime. DeLaurier said that designer Sara Curran Ice has created magnificent costumes for the production, and in particular, for Polly Firestone Walker who is playing Queen Elizabeth, full of big ruffs and lace. From that to the more plain serving wenches in the tavern, the costumes span a huge strata of characters. Those characters feature nearly all of PCPA’s Resident Artists.
People who love Shakespeare will delight from the numerous references to characters in other Shakespeare plays such as Viola in Twelfth Night, a woman disguised as a man, Tilney who is a prototype for Malvolio, and within the play, and where the queen asks Shakespeare for a new play for twelfth night. “You can see the elements that Shakespeare is gathering from these experiences to write the next play. DeLaurier observed, “I think it’s really important because having William Shakespeare up on a pedestal doesn’t do anybody any good. To make him a living breathing human being with flaws, and desires, and heartbreak, and love, is a great thing...and makes his work more accessible.”
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Lee Hall was born in Newcastle Upon Tyne in 1966 and studied English Literature at Cambridge University. He has worked as a writer in theatre, TV, radio and film. He has been writer in residence at the Royal Shakespeare Company and Live Theatre, Newcastle Upon Tyne. Theatre credits: Wittgenstein on Tyne, Bollocks, RSC Fringe; Genie, Paines Plough; Cooking With Elvis - West End - nominated for an Oliver Award for Best Comedy;
Spoonface Steinberg, Ambassadors Theatre; Two’s Company, Bristol Old Vic; Billy Elliot the Musical - Oliver Award Best Musical; Pitmen Painters, Newcastle/Royal National Theatre/ National Tour/Broadway. Theatre adaptations: Leonce and Lena (Buchner), The Gate Theatre; Mr Puntila and his Man Matti (Brecht) Almedia Theatre; A Servant to Two Masters (Goldoni) RSC/ Young Vic; The Adventures of Pinocchio (Collodi), Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith; Mother Courage (Brecht), Shared Experience/Ambassadors Theatre; The Good Hope (Heijermans) Royal National; The Barber of Seville (Beaumarchais), Bristol Old Vic. Opera: Adaptation of Il Pagliacci/The Comedians for the English National Opera. TV : Spoonface Steinberg, BBC; A Prince of Hearts, BBC; Wind in the Willows, BBC. Film: Billy Elliot, Working Title Films. His screen play for War Horse was directed by Steven Spielberg in 2011.
Marc Norman is a screenwriter from Los Angeles. Film redits include Oklahoma Crude, Cutthroat Island and The Aviator. His TV credits include scripts for Mission: Impossible TV, Downtown, Five Desperate Women, The Challenge, and Run for Your Life and director for three episodes of The White Shadow. His script of Shakespeare in Love written with Tom Stoppard earned him an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay and Best Picture Oscar. He is the author of the novel Bike Riding in Los Angeles and What Happens Next?: A History of Hollywood Screenwriting. He received his Masters degree in English at UC Berkeley.
Tom Stoppard wrote his first play, Enter a Free Man, while working as a journalist in Bristol. His plays include The Hard Problem, Rosencrantz And Guildenstern Are Dead, The Real Inspector Hound, After Magritte, Jumpers, Travesties, Every Good Boy Deserves Favour (a play for actors and orchestra written with André Previn), Night and Day, The Real Thing, Hapgood, Arcadia, Indian Ink, The Invention Of Love, The Coast Of Utopia, Rock’n’Roll, Dogg’s Our Pett, New-Found Land, Dogg’s Hamlet and Cahoot’s Macbeth. Adaptations include Tango, Undiscovered Country, On The Razzle, Rough Crossing and Dalliance. Translations include The Seagull, Henry IV, Ivanov, and The Cherry Orchard, The House Of Bernarda Alba and Largo Desolato. He has written eight Evening Standard award-winning plays and five of his plays have won Tony Awards. Radio plays include Darkside (set to Pink Floyd’s album, The Dark Side of the Moon), On ‘Dover Beach’, If You’re Glad, I’ll Be Frank, Albert’s Bridge (Italia Prize Winner), M Is For Moon Among Other Things, The Dissolution Of Dominic Boot, Where Are They Now?, and Artist Descending A Staircase. Television adaptations include Parades End (BBC/HBO), A Walk On The Water (from Enter A Free Man), Three Men In A Boat and The Dog It Was That Died. Original television screenplays include Another Moon Called Earth, A Separate Peace, Neutral Ground, Teeth and Professional Foul, which won awards from BAFTA, the Broadcasting Press Guild and Squaring The Circle. Screenplays include Anna Karenina, Despair, The Romantic Englishwoman, The Human Factor, Brazil, Empire Of The Sun, The Russia House, Billy Bathgate, Poodle Springs, and Shakespeare In Love (with Marc Norman). He directed and wrote the screenplay for the film of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, which won the Prix d’Or at the Venice Film Festival 1990 for Best Film. Tom Stoppard is a CBE (one of five classes of The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) and was knighted in 1997.