April 23, 2016 marks the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare, so it’s not surprising that all sorts of public events are being organized to commemorate the Swan of Avon and his (purported) works. Even the Oxfordians and their allies are getting in on the act, using the quadricentennial as an excuse to raise awareness of the many hypotheses about other possible authors of the plays and poems generally attributed to the Bard. Groups of authorship doubters in cities all over the world have decided to reaffirm support this year for the Declaration of Reasonable Doubt, adopted nine years ago by the Shakespeare Authorship Coalition.
Skeptics that Shakespeare actually wrote Shakespeare include many a luminary, Walt Whitman, Mark Twain, Sigmund Freud, Orson Welles, Sir Derek Jacoby, Mark Rylance, John Paul Stevens and Antonin Scalia among them. And now a group of apparently sane people is forming in Rosendale, who will be more than happy to explain why they aren’t Bard believers.
If you’d like to hear more about current theories of possible alternative authorship, including such names as Edward De Vere, Christopher Marlowe and Francis Bacon, you might enjoy the discussion on Friday, April 22 at 6:30 p.m., to be hosted by the 1850 House Inn & Tavern in Rosendale. Mary Lois Adshead, a theater director and lifelong fan of the works of Shakespeare who coordinated the Rosendale Theatre’s “Shakespeare Slam” last year, and Edward Schoelwer, chair of the Theatre’s Programming Committee, will be convening the group for the first time; whether it will become an ongoing Tudor Period literary salon probably depends on the level of public interest shown.
The public is invited to attend and contribute to the discussion. There’s no admission charge, but offering to buy a round of pints might not go amiss. Check it out! The 1850 House is located at 435 Main Street (Route 213) in downtown Rosendale.