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NDNU Explores Shakespeare’s Authenticity in The Beard of Avon

Belmont, CA, October 6, 2010 — To believe or not to believe, that is the question. Did Shakespeare actually write all those great plays—Hamlet, Macbeth, King Lear, The Tempest, and so many more— or were they the work of another?  That’s the question explored in Notre Dame de Namur University’s production of The Beard of Avon, which runs from Oct. 15 – 24 at the NDNU Theatre.

Written by celebrated local playwright Amy Freed, The Beard of Avon explores the controversial theory that Shakespeare’s plays were actually the work of Edward de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford, who could not publish under his own name because it would have been unseemly for a nobleman to write for the public theatre. Freed says she never took the idea seriously until she was given a book on the subject by a friend and found it to be “most persuasive.”

Freed, who has won many playwriting awards and was a Pulitzer Prize finalist for her play, Freedomland, often bases her plays on the lives of historical characters. She says this practice allows her more freedom to explore important psychological and sociological themes. “I am drawn to stories that have a relationship to the larger world,” she says. “If you go with a story the audience already knows, you can jump into the deep end faster and go right into (those themes).”

Although The Beard of Avon has been performed often by well-known professional companies including San Francisco’s ACT, Freed says that she is delighted that the play is being performed at NDNU. “One of my favorite uses of the play is in educational situations.” Freed is Artist-in-Residence in the Drama Department of Stanford University.

The play is directed by Bruce Williams and produced by Michael Elkins. The cast includes Kymberlee Duran, Adam Ellison, Margaret Gorrell, Harrison Hapin,   Ian Hazdovac, Anthony Lahlouh, Morgan Lewis, John Paul Manfredi, Jr., George Metropulos, Clark Pierron, Michael Popiel, Tricia Robateau, Jennifer Salmeron, Steven Scoles, Danielle Vivion, Jaclyn Vujovich, and Mark Vujovich. Technical Director and Scenic Design, R. Dutch Fritz; Costume Design, Barbara Kassal; Lighting Design, Will Springhorn; Stage Manager, Haley Rae Hart, Makeup and Hair Design, Jennifer Earlywine; House Manager, Niki Rodrigues; and Administration and Production Coordinator, Mary Hill.

Admission is $10. For additional information please contact the NDNU Theatre box office at at (650) 508-3456 or email boxoffice@ndnu.edu. The NDNU Theatre is located at 1500 Ralston Avenue, Belmont, CA.