May 16, 2010


The blog has been quiet lately while I've been focussing on a number of projects. Now, though, I'm back in a position to knuckle down to the thesis, and I'll no doubt be posting more frequently here.

Upcoming excitements include:

  • Another production of Arden of Faversham, this one at the Rose Theatre, Bankside. I'll hopefully be seeing this in late June/early July.

  • A reading of Double Falsehood taking place here at Warwick. I'm not sure yet what my involvement might be with this, but I'm hoping it'll be particularly useful for my work.

  • A plenary paper at the next British Graduate Shakespeare Conference, in mid-March. I'll be presenting on the implications of Double Falsehood's inclusion in the Arden Shakespeare, and sharing a panel with Professor John Jowett and Gregory Doran of the RSC.

  • An article on Yorkshire Tragedy, shortly to be published in the journal Law and the Humanities.

  • Several talks, including a session at the London Forum of Authorship Studies and an address at the Shakespeare Centre in Stratford by Brean Hammond on his edition of Double Falsehood.

  • Director interviews with several leading directors on past productions of apocryphal plays. These will probably include Michael Boyd, Greg Doran, Terry Hands and more.

More to follow soon!

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  1. Duncan

    I’ve been following with great interest Doran’s plans to produce an English/Spanish Cardenio restoration. He thinks that Double Falsehood has bits missing and the plan seems to be to get a Spanish writer to fill in the gaps based on the original Cervantes source.

    There’s video of the UoM reading of Double Falsehood here:

    16 May 2010, 19:47

  2. Yeah, there’s a long history of that. Gary Taylor’s production of the play similarly creatively filled in the gaps using Cervantes, while Bernard Richard created five or six entirely new scenes for his production last year.

    It’s all well and good; however, what I’m concerned about people forgetting is that Double Falsehood was performed – and pretty successfully – in 1727-8, shortly before the text as we have it was published. It’s not a lost, compiled or posthumous play: it’s a properly published text, seen through the press by Theobald himself and presumably reflects what was played on stage. People are so intent on getting back to what they imagine Shakespeare/Fletcher might have written that they’re assuming the licence to imaginatively create new scenes to fill in what they perceive to be gaps; that’s fine and valid, but I’d be far more interested to see a company try and make Double Falsehood work on stage on its own terms.

    17 May 2010, 08:50

  3. Duncan

    No sooner said than done!

    KDC Theatre is to stage Double Falsehood at the Union Theatre Southwark this August. According to their website, Brean Hammond will be attending the opening night and also contributing to the programme!

    21 May 2010, 14:30


    This summer we’ll be putting on the 21st century premiere of the “lost” Shakespeare play Double Falsehood. It’s a pretty impressive coup for us, so special in fact that the editor of the Arden edition of the play will be attending our opening night and contributing to the programme.

    Double Falsehood has been the subject of controversy for centuries. In February this year the play was published in an Arden Shakespeare edition thus reviving many of the arguments surrounding its authorship.

    Although much of the work we have now comes from the 1727 production presented by Lewis Theobald it seems clear that the piece had its foundation in the lost play The History of Cardenio; a collaboration between William Shakespeare and John Fletcher first presented at court in 1613. Throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries the play was largely ignored. Arden’s publication this year has sparked renewed interest in the work and made it one of the most exciting pieces of literature of the twenty-first century.

    Over the coming weeks we’ll be posting all the details you need about auditions, show times and so on. For now though, we hope this news has got you as excited as we are!


    Couple of things in there worth disputing! This isn’t the 21st century premiere, although it is the 21st century BRITISH premiere, as far as I’m aware.

    And let’s not gloss over the “problems.” The ENTIRE of what we’ve got is from Lewis Theobald’s presentation. The question is over whether what’s within that preserves much of the “original”. That’s a picky difference perhaps, but an important one – it’s not like we’ve got several separate documents, some of which are Theobald, some of which are Shakespeare/Fletcher. We’ve got one edition of the play, which is Theobald’s Double Falsehood. Whatever we’ve got comes to us through him, not from any implied external authority.

    Picky points aside, I’ll be there!

    21 May 2010, 14:37

  5. Duncan

    Tickets for the run, including the smart casual dress code gala opening night with free programme, drink and nibbles now on sale!

    17 Jun 2010, 12:18

  6. Duncan

    I’ve just noticed on p.129 of Hammond’s edition of DF that when discussing Bernard Richard’s interpolated abduction scene in his adaptation, Hammond writes:

    “Compounding Henriquez’s villainy in this way makes the final resolution of his marriage to Leonora more difficult to accept, though it is perhaps no more problematic than Angelo’s intended miscreancy in Measure for Measure.”

    Henriquez does not marry Leonora at the end. So is the above an error or did Richard’s adaptation change the ending in this manner?

    15 Aug 2010, 16:00

  7. It’s an error, and good spot – Richards’s adaptation only added a few scenes as far as I’m aware, and arranging for Henriquez to marry Leonora would be too much of a shift. There are always quite a few in Arden editions though (occupational hazard of trying to be so masssive!).

    A far more significant and inexplicable error occurs at p. 270, 4.1.243n: ” Gerald Although giving the servant a name may be simply a device for introducing him, this may also provide some possible evidence for truncation. He has not previously appeared in the action and is not included in the Dramatis Personae at the beginning.” I genuinely can’t imagine how, in going to the effort of writing this footnote, Hammond managed to not notice that Gerald is in the List of Roles and played a major role in the action in 2.2.

    15 Aug 2010, 17:25

  8. Duncan

    You’re right in pointing out Hammond’s error in saying that Gerald hasn’t appeared in the play until that point. But while Gerald is in Hammond’s own List of Roles on p.178, isn’t he referring here to Gerald’s absence from the Dramatis Personae on pp.172/175?

    15 Aug 2010, 18:01

  9. I’m sure that’s what he means (though, as standard for the period, those lists aren’t complete – note also the lack of Fabian, Lopez and Maid) – I more meant that you’d have thought Hammond, when checking his own list of roles, would have noted his own (correct) notes on the part of Gerald!

    15 Aug 2010, 22:30

  10. Duncan

    I get it now. It is an odd oversight.

    Two errors in a book called Double Falsehood? Strangely appropriate? Deliberate joke on editor’s part?

    16 Aug 2010, 13:01

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I’m Peter Kirwan, a final year doctoral student in the English Department at Warwick, and this is my PhD blog.

Conferences, reviews, articles, thoughts and links relating to my interests in the Shakespeare apocrypha, early modern drama, authorship and performance.

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