The Book of Will
DCPA Theatre Company: 1/13-2/26
The cast of The Book of Will
Currently on view at The Ricketson Theatre, Lauren Gunderson’s play, “The Book of Will,” comes with high recommendations from this critic’s desk.
Ostensibly the play touches on the creation of The First Folio of Shakespeare’s plays. It’s framed in the loves and losses of the Bard’s closest friends in the theatre as they work to secure his legacy for the future.
Liam Craig and Kurt Rhoads portray John Heminges and Henry Condell respectively. While both men do a superb job creating their characters, they are overshadowed by the bombastic work of Triney Sandoval. This actor portrays not only Richard Burbage, but also Ben Jonson. His no holds Bard (sorry!) performance(s) in both roles are potent in the sense that Mr. Sandoval is something of an onstage tornado as an actor. His bellowing, blustery potency is staggering in more ways than one.
The women who portray the wives and daughter of Heminges and Condell: Nance Williamson, Miriam A. Laube and Jennifer Le Blanc respectively, are all superb actors. Ms. Laube has a spicy, sassy expressiveness that is utterly delicious.
Playing several roles in the ensemble, Thaddeus Fitzpatrick is a young artist with great talent and vigor. One hopes to see him onstage again soon.
Andy Nagraj is another star in the making who’s most memorable as Isaac Jaggard, the man who finally got the printing done!
Rodney Lizcano is hilarious in various supporting roles.
Director Davis McCallum can be credited with great casting and pacing.
The scenic design is a visual wonder of composition. Its upper level references the look of the old Globe Theatre. Tis a puzzlement that it’s never used.
At one point in the play certain parts of the scenic design magically disappear in such a way as to make the grinding gears of a Gutenberg press visible.
One wishes that the artistry of the technical crew could have also made all those fragments of Will’s
scripts hanging above the stage in ancient English text come together as the first page of Hamlet or King Lear or some other work. Pericles? But instead they retreat all at once and we get a deluge of flying blank sheets of paper. It works…sort of, but here was one of those missed opportunities that could have made the production indelible.
If the man from Stratford did write the plays in the First Folio it’s interesting that there is no mention of his plays and no bequeathing thereof in any form in his will . Only a few things such as his bestowing his “second best bed” and "a silver bowl" on members of the family? Odd thing for a writer, don't you think?
Could it be possible that the man from Stratford didn’t write the Canon after all? (Check out “Marlowe’s Ghost” by Daryl Pinksen.)
Go see “The Book of Will!"Marlowe's Musings
For tickets call 303-893-4000 or go online at denvercenter.org