The Arts

Vern Thiessen’s Shakespeare’s Will

Vern Thiessen’s Shakespeare’s Will featured image

Reviewed by Paula Citron
September 8, 2011

Shakespeare’s Will
Stratford Shakespeare Festival
Written by Vern Thiessen
Directed by Miles Potter
Performed by Seana McKenna
Studio Theatre
Jun. 30 to Sept. 2, 2011

What a difference four years make! I looked up my review for the 2007 Stratford production of Shakespeare’s Will and I was not kind. I’m certainly more positive this time.

The play by Vern Thiessen is a remount for the great Seana McKenna. In the solo show, she is Shakespeare’s wife, Anne Hathaway, reflecting on her relationship with the great man.

In 2007, I commended the production values, which still remain strong, but considered the play tedious.

This time around, there is a lot more energy that director Miles Potter injected into Anne’s monologue, as well as more irony and sarcasm, not to mention McKenna’s changing her voice more to mirror other characters.

As for the play, I’m more admiring, because McKenna’s more vibrant performance brought out more depth. Thiessen was inspired by one line in Shakespeare’s will – that he left his wife his second best bed. From that humiliation, and other scraps of facts, he cleverly constructed a life together.

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