Stratford Players present ‘Will in the Woods V’

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Christine Hunt (left) and Christopher Morse will play a scene from “Arden of Faversham,” an Elizabethan era crime thriller recently identified as having Shakespeare’s signature writing as part of the collaborative process of play authorship. Photo courtesy Marsha Kennedy

What’s in a name? Well, if the name is Shakespeare, the answer is some of the greatest, if not the greatest writing in the English language — magnificent and eloquent language with characters and plots to satisfy every appetite and attention span.

Heartbreaking romances, bawdy humor, epic adventure, conniving and skullduggery, heroes, thieves and villains — Shakespeare’s comedies, tragedies and histories shine with the signature of a genius wordsmith.

The names of his characters — Shylock, Romeo, Juliet, Othello, Iago, Macbeth and Hamlet — are known internationally. Many readers and theatergoers can recite the plotlines of his most cherished plays. Some linger over his words simply for their inherent beauty — “But soft what light through yonder window breaks? It is the east and Juliet is the sun.”

After more than 400 years, Shakespeare’s stories remain compelling, engaging, thrilling and passionate.

At 3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 9, and Sunday, Sept. 3 and 10, the Stratford Players perform scenes from “Macbeth,” “Romeo & Juliet,” “Hamlet,” “The Merchant of Venice,” and famous speeches from “Henry V” and “Julius Caesar” — all presented as they were in London during Shakespeare’s day — in a theater open to the sky and lit by natural light.

And unlike attending the Globe as groundlings standing in the pit, Stratford patrons can sit for the duration of the performance.

There will be music, laughter, tears and a “new” play which Shakespeare is thought to have had a hand in writing — “Arden of Faversham.” Sir Jonathan Bate, professor of English literature at Oxford University, says “Arden” and several other linguistically fingerprinted texts, present Shakespeare in a new light, as “reviser, rewriter and collaborator.” Kennedy posited that “Arden” would likely be a West Coast premiere of this “rediscovered” work. “It’s also different from other Shakespeare works in that it’s a crime thriller based on a true story.”

Actors include Christopher Morse, Rena May, Christine Hunt, Derrik Lewis, Doug Austin, Harriet Briant, Dick English, Barbara Rayliss and Scott Wilson. Marsha Kennedy directs.

Tickets are $15 and are available at www.stratforplayers.com. “Will in the Woods V” is staged at the Christian Science Church, 25970 Cedar Street, which is the corner of Cedar St. and River Rd. (across from Town Hall).

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