An 18th century play recently identified by a University of Nottingham expert as a long-lost work of William Shakespeare gets its first public reading at the Nottingham Playhouse next week.
The play, Double Falsehood by Lewis Theobald, was identified by Professor Brean Hammond in the University’s School of English Studies, as a re-working of Shakespeare’s lost original Cardenio and was published by Arden last Spring to international acclaim and interest.
Now the Nottingham Playhouse is staging a special event to celebrate this unusual literary revelation as part of its Lost Shakespeare Day on Monday October 11 2010. The dramatized reading by professional actors and directed by the RSC’s Michael Fentiman, will take place at 7pm in the main auditorium followed by a panel discussion. The reading will be preceded by a lecture by Professor Hammond at 4pm including a question and answer session.
Double Falsehood’s plot contains all the ingredients of a classic production in both the Elizabethan and 18th century periods. It boasts two beautiful but contrasting female lead characters, one lowborn and one of higher birth; and two similarly contrasting leading men, one, of modest birth, full of honour and probity and the other an aristocratic villain. Monday night’s audience at the Playhouse will witness an interrupted marriage, a series of mad scenes and a near-rape to keep them on the edge of their seats.
Artistic Director of the Nottingham Playhouse, Giles Croft, said:” It’s very exciting for us to be able to bring together two such significant cultural institutions in Nottingham in this way and we are delighted that Michael Fentiman from the RSC will be directing the reading. If the reading is a success then this may be the prelude to a full production.”
Professor Brean Hammond added: ”I’m often asked ‘Is the play any good?’ Well, the citizens of Nottingham will have a chance to decide for themselves, thanks to Giles Croft, Mike Fentiman and the Playhouse Theatre.”
Professor Hammond has spent the past 10 years researching the origins of the play. Its author, Lewis Theobald, claimed it was a re-working of an original play by the Bard himself. Theobald’s claims that he had three original Shakespeare texts, now lost, were largely dismissed until now. Professor Hammond believes he has found evidence that links Theobald’s play back to Shakespeare’s ‘lost play’, Cardenio which was a collaboration between Shakespeare and John Fletcher in 1613.
Double Falsehood, edited by Professor Brean Hammond, is published by Arden Shakespeare and is available, priced £16.99 paperback. ISBN 9781903436776.
Tickets for the play reading at 7pm cost £2 and are available through the Nottingham Playhouse Box Office on 0115 941 9419. The 4pm lecture by Professor Hammond is free.
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