A speculative work of theater from playwright Vern Thiessen, Shakespeare's Will has been criticized in some quarters for taking liberties with historical fidelity. Such complaints are understandable, as the work imagines an egregious emotional toll paid by Anne Hathaway in her marriage to the esteemed William Shakespeare, depicting their union as a contentious power struggle that exposes a far from virtuous Bard. What the play's harshest critics often neglect, however, is that our perception of Shakespeare is founded more on popular legend than on the actual man. Thiessen isn't drawing a biographical sketch of Shakespeare so much as he's attempting to create a relatable drama from the mythology of his life. Designed as a one-woman show, Shakespeare's Will centers on the recently widowed Hathaway as she recalls the rewards and sacrifices of her unconventional marriage to a temperamental artist. Calling upon a vast array of Victorian characters, this regional premiere from Jungle Theater will feature Cathy Fuller (making an ambitious Jungle debut), who will seamlessly switch personas from instant to instant. Toward that end, an immersive soundscape designed by C. Andrew Mayer and a richly detailed set design by director Bain Boehlke aim to evoke the Stratford-upon-Avon setting. True to life or not, Shakespeare's Will allows a fascinating alternative view of one of history's most elusive figures — and one of theater's most enduring legends. (Photo by Drew Trampe)
Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m.; Tuesdays-Thursdays, Sundays, 7:30 p.m. Starts: Feb. 7. Continues through March 23, 2014
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