Director's Note: Shakespeare's Will
By Brenda DeVita, Director
There are nine known facts about Anne Hathaway. Just nine. So researching this woman was fascinating because all I knew about her was her name. I found out pretty quickly why that was: there’s nothing out there about Anne Hathaway. It’s all about William Shakespeare.
Of course, history is built on the facts we can piece together, plus a lot of supposition to be shaped into something that sounds like truth. In Anne’s case, she is often maligned by historians (who were mostly men, writing about men, for men). So her “truth” became that she was an older woman who trapped this young, intelligent, special boy by getting pregnant and marrying him. (Because everyone wants to marry a poor playwright with no prospects, right?)
Remember … Shakespeare wasn’t SHAKESPEARE when she met him.
Shakespeare’s Will weaves those nine facts into a fully realized Anne Hathaway. A beautiful, poetic story about a brave woman in honest contemplation of her life’s choices. Anne owns the choices she’s made. Not proud of every choice but, more importantly, proud of the way she has handled them: the good ones and the bad.
One reason we tell stories, I believe, is that we long for inspiration from those who get through this thing called life with a modicum of grace. Anne is graceful. Not with a perfected, calm, angel-like grace, but an honest, steely, truthful kind of grace. A grace that most of us can understand—can aspire to.
I flatter myself to find myself in her. That is what good art does for us. I do see the parallels: independent, mother, wife of an artist … minus the grace, at times, I fear. And the play speaks to me on that very personal level. Challenges me—challenges us—to determinedly scour our lives, our choices, our actions with fierce honesty … and accept ourselves.
See Shakespeare's Will onstage now through April 16 at the IRT! Tickets are available here.
The IRT produces top-quality, professional theatre that engages, surprises, challenges and entertains people throughout their lifetimes, helping to build a vital and vibrant community.
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