The Summer of Our . . . Disinterment?

King Richard III

You’ve probably heard the big news. The whole world is abuzz with it. Archeologists in Leicester, England think they may have found the remains of King Richard III buried deep beneath a council parking lot. Scientists searching for the grave have said “strong circumstantial evidence” points to a skeleton being the lost king. The remains show wounds to the skull and a scoliosis of the spine. The University of Leicester will now test the bones for DNA against descendants of Richard’s family. Professor Lin Foxhall, head of the university’s School of Archaeology, said: “Archaeology almost never finds named individuals – this is absolutely extraordinary.”

And it is extraordinary. If the bones turn out to be Richard’s, then a whole slew of historical questions might be clarified, and others raised: was Richard the hunchback Shakespeare made him out to be? Was his depiction of the last Plantagenet monarch part of the wider Tudor campaign to discredit the former crown? Will it change Mark Rylance’s already brilliant and nuanced interpretation of the villainous character, which opens for a very limited run at the Apollo theater on November 6. Who knows? (btw: Mark is a steadfast supporter of the Roundtable and inquiry into authorship)

Rylance as RIII

But the find does have subtle implications for the authorship question, too. History is never finished, no matter what tenured academics might like to believe. The quest for “truth” must pry open the creaky, rusted gates of convention. In a June blog we reported on the recent discovery of the remains of the Curtain theater in Shorditch. So . . . where’s the thatch? For years scholars believed the Curtain, like the globe, had a thatch roof, but the excavation showed no sign of it. Tiles perhaps. There was some evidence of tiles. This is not a game changer, of course. But it does alter what we believe about the time, AND the theater.  If the skeleton turns out to be Richard’s it is pretty solid proof that things long past and given up as lost forever — in academic terms: “settled” — can still turn up, in a parking lot no less. Let’s keep looking!

Below is a pretty good commentary from a Guardian reporter on the scene:

Still Time to Register: The Pasadena Shakespeare Authorship Conference, October 18 to 21

Edward deVere, 17th Earl of Oxford

The eighth annual joint authorship conference of the Shakespeare Fellowship and the Shakespeare Oxford Society will convene in Pasadena, California October 18-21, 2012 at the Courtyard Pasadena Old Town by Marriott. For special conference room rates call 888.236.2427 or reserve rooms on line at: laxot-courtyard-los-angeles-pasadena-old-down/

Having the conference in Southern California is a great opportunity for local SAR members (and non-members, too) to hear and mingle with many of the finest minds in the country to engage with the Authorship question. Speakers include, Professors A.J.(Tony) Pointon, Roger Stritmatter and Don Rubin, as well as  Katherine Chiljan, Bonner Cutting, John Hamill, Helen Gordon, Jennifer Newton, and Earl Showerman. Plus screenings of Lisa Wilson’s and Laura Wilson Mathias’ documentary film, “Last Will & Testament; and the debut of Cheryl Eagan-Donovan’s Controversy Films project, “Nothing is Truer than Truth”, based on Mark Anderson’s book, “Shakespeare by Another Name.”

We might point proudly to several esteemed speakers who hearken from the Roundtable itself: John Shahan, Lance Fogan, James Ulmer, Sylvia Holmes and of course Sabrina Feldman who has recently published the stirring, “The Apocryphal William Shakespeare, Book One of A ‘Third Way’ Shakespeare Authorship Scenario”

Huntington Library

Also, the trip to the Huntington Library is not to be missed. Scheduled from 1:00-2:00 on Thursday afternoon, October 18th, the staff of the Huntington will put on display a dozen or so rare books from its collection, described as “nothing short of extraordinary.” For more details about the conference program check out websites for the Shakespeare Fellowship:

And The Oxford Society at:

“Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow . . .”  is good drama”, but what you’ll want is a good seat. There’s still time to register. See you there.

Farewell Barbara, Dear Friend and Esteemed Roundtable Benefactor

Barbara Wenzel Gilfillan Crowley,
March 19, 1924 – August 13, 2012

Officer Emeritus, Advisor, Secretary and forever esteemed Roundtable benefactor, Barbara W. G. Crowley passed away on August 13, 2012. Barbara and her husband John were good friends of Ruth Lloyd Miller and at the vanguard of all aspects of the authorship question. Barbara not only helped found the Roundtable over twenty-five years ago, but has continued to advise, nurture and support its evolution. With an unbounded generosity, grace and intelligence, Barbara presided over many SAR planning sessions at “Great Oaks”, the beautiful Crowley home of 54 years. From that generosity, grace and intelligence grew many of the Roundtable’s milestone achievements. We will miss her greatly and with Sylvia Crowley Holmes, Barbara’s daughter and our wonderful Secretary, grieve her passing. 

Should friends wish, donations in Barbara’s name can be made to the charity of their choice, or the Shakespeare Authorship Roundtable.

Barbara was born March 19, 1924 to author and social scientist, S. Colum Gilfillan and Louise Wenzel Gilfillan, social worker.  Barbara was raised in Hyde Park, Chicago and attended U. High (University of Chicago Laboratory Schools), also earning her BA in Psychology at the University of Chicago in 1944.  On the first day of her first job, Barbara met John Crowley.  They were married 6 months later and spent 63 fulfilling years together until John’s death in 2007.   In 1949 they moved to California where they raised their family of 6 children.  John and Barbara maintained a partnership throughout their marriage, and Barbara played the part of First Lady of Pasadena when John was mayor for two years.  Barbara believed her biggest accomplishment in life was her children.  A loving mother, she respected their differences and encouraged them to pursue their own interests.  As they grew up, she began her second career as an attorney.  She attended Loyola Law School, where she was one of the few women in her class.  She earned her JD and went on to practice estate, trust and probate law for 25 years at the firm of Barton, Klugman & Oetting in downtown Los Angeles.  She often expressed how lucky she felt to have had two separate careers: one, raising six children, the other, as an attorney.  Before, during and well after working as a lawyer, Barbara’s sense of civic responsibility motivated her to be an active participant in her local community.  She generously gave her time and energy to many organizations including the Pasadena PTA, Descanso Gardens Guild, Westridge School, Women at Work, League of Women Voters, University of Chicago Alumni and Los Angeles Beautiful, to name a few.  But her primary interest lay in the Shakespeare authorship question.  Thrilled by this real-life mystery, she studied and championed it throughout her life.

Barbara was preceded in death by her sister Marjorie Gilfillan, husband John and son Alex. She is survived by her children: Leonard, Philip, Eliot, Louisa and Sylvia, as well as eleven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.  A celebration of Barbara’s life will be held Saturday, September 22 at “Great Oaks”, the Crowley home of 54 years.  Should friends wish, donations in Barbara’s name can be made to the charity of their choice, or the Shakespeare Authorship Roundtable.

The “Truth” Needs Your Help! Film seeks funding to meet conference deadline

Edward deVere, 17th Earl of Oxford

“Vero Nihil Verius” is the Latin motto emblazoned on the deVere family coat of arms. In English it translates to “Nothing is Truer Than Truth”, which is the title film producer/director Cheryl Eagan-Donovan has chosen for her new and much anticipated documentary film on Edward de Vere, Seventeenth Earl of Oxford. The film focuses on the years 1575-76, when de Vere traveled the Continent from his home base in Venice, gathering the material that many academic and lay scholars believe would become the works of Shakespeare.

The filmmakers have travelled throughout the world, but especially to Italy, and have interviewed authorship authorities with a wide and sometimes controversial spectrum of ideas about the relationship between the content of the Canon and the life of its author. Their argument is that deVere was the author and that the plays reflect very closely the events that occurred in his life.

Cheryl and her team are working around the clock to finish editing the film for a rough cut screening at the Shakespeare Fellowship SOS Joint conference in Pasadena on Saturday October 20th. But they need HELP!

The link below will take you to the “Indie Go Go” website, which is a unique funding platform that helps worthy causes like “Nothing is Truer Than Truth” find like-minded people to help produce the movie.

Just click on the link and see the trailer for the film. Have a look at the synopsis and the bountiful talent associated with this project. Who knows: You may find your name in the credits.