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William Shakespeare's Land of the Dead - Full Length Play, Dramatic Comedy

William Shakespeare's Land of the Dead

John Heimbuch

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Full Length Play, Dramatic Comedy

8m, 2f, 1boy(s), 8m or f

ISBN: 9780573700149

"John Heimbuch's script is witty, clever, peppered with self-referential humor and wonderful wordplay on some of the Bard's best lines." -Brian Leehan, Minneapolis Star Tribune

If there's one show that deserves to be resurrected after th…

More Information Below:

Description | Characters | Rental Materials | Author | Reviews
: Acting Edition
: Large Print
: Stage Manager

Minimum Fee: $75 per performance


Full Length Play

Dramatic Comedy

Adventure, Adaptations (Shakespeare), Mystery/Thriller, Period, Parody / Spoof

90 minutes

Time Period - 16th Century / Elizabethan

Settings Of Play -

Summer 1599. Southwark, England. In the tiring house of the newly built Globe Playhouse.


Stage Combat

Interior Set

Period Costumes


Mild Adult Themes


Adult, Teen (Age 14 - 18)


High School/Secondary, College Theatre / Student, Community Theatre, Professional Theatre, Large Stage, Blackbox / Second Stage /Fringe Groups

London, 1599. Shakespeare’s Henry V opens the Globe Playhouse, but while the actors strut and fret, an excess of bile plagues the populace outside.

After the opening of his newest play, William Shakespeare must once again defend his work – fending off the embittered clown Will Kemp while trying to appease Francis Bacon, a wealthy lawyer who has come with an idea to pitch. But when the company’s costumer is bitten by a plague-ridden madman, and the Queen and her men arrive seeking safety, life in the playhouse takes a turn for the worse.

As the affliction spreads through London, the Globe is placed in quarantine and the survivors within must fight for their lives. Can they escape? Is there a cure? Is artistic integrity ever worth dying for?

A true and accurate account of the Elizabethan zombie plague.


"John Heimbuch's script is witty, clever, peppered with self-referential humor and wonderful wordplay on some of the Bard's best lines." -Brian Leehan, Minneapolis Star Tribune

"brilliant and hilarious zombies-meet-Shakespeare epic ... If you know Shakespeare, you'll be roaring as the show lampoons everything about the Bard and ludicrously reuses famous lines while the heroes battle invading zombies ... MUST SEE." - Renee Valois, Saint Paul Pioneer Press

"Both Shakespeare and horror nerds will enjoy this brilliant Elizabethan production of bloody proportions, taking zombies into new and exciting terrain." - Ben Smith, Fangoria Magazine

Originally produced in 2008 at the Rarig Thrust Stage in Minneapolis by Walking Shadow Theatre Company.



8m, 2f, 1boy(s), 8m or f


Expandable casting, Room for Extras

WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE (35) - Player, playwright, company member
RICHARD BURBAGE (31) - Player and theatre manager
WILL KEMP (40s) - Player, clown, and Morris dancer
JOHN RICE (teens) - An apprentice player
KATE BRAITHWAITE (30s) - The attiring woman
JOHN SINKLO (30s) - A hired player
FRANCIS BACON (38) - Lawyer, courier, philosopher
SIR ROBERT CECIL (36) - The Queen’s spymaster
QUEEN ELIZABETH (65) - The Queen of England
DOCTOR JOHN DEE (71) - An astrologer and mathematician
SOLDIER 1 - A recruiting officer
SOLDIER 2 - A soldier of the Queen’s guard

Rental Materials


N/A (Not a musical)

John Heimbuch

John Heimbuch

John Heimbuch is the Co-Artistic Director of Walking Shadow Theatre Company in Minneapolis. His original full length plays include William Shakespeare's Land of the Dead, A Midwinter Night’s Revel, The Transdimensional Couriers Union, S. Gunter Klaus and the Story Before, The King is Dead, Squawk, 10-Speed Revolution, and The Lives of the Most Notorious Highwaymen. He has penned adaptations of The ... view full profile

Now Playing
Anthony Walker 2/26/2016 11:18 AM
I expect this play will appeal to the dedicated Shakespeare lover with its witty references, to the causal Shakespeare viewer for its blatant references; and to anyone who loves sword fights, blood and / or gore, and zombies.

Basically, this play should have something to entertain anyone.
Kim Martin 9/20/2014 11:54 AM
If you're looking for wacky comedy with a touch of sophistication and inside jokes for drama types, this is your play. Great fun with some challenging roles and an opportunity to bring literary insights to your company & audiences.
Alexandra Ley 5/5/2013 9:51 PM
This play is not as funny as it tries to be, but it is a great choice for an audience full of Shakespeare enthusiasts. The text is packed with references to the Bard’s major works, often lifting key phrases from his plays and dropping them into the characters’ dialogue. Some of the historical references, such as Will Kempe’s nine-day Morris Dance, the legal conditions of theatre in Queen Elizabeth I’s England, and the violent entertainment of bearbaiting might not make sense to those who have only read a couple of Shakespeare’s works and do not know more about Elizabethan London. The characters, historical or otherwise, are entertaining and well developed. After the initial story and conflicts are set up, however, this play becomes another victim of the recent zombie/supernatural creature craze that has dominated the media in the past few years and dissolves into a wacky historical supernatural adventure. The parallel with the bubonic plague of Shakespeare’s lifetime is pretty clever but not really developed. This play is a bizarre mix between a horror story and a guilty pleasure for Shakespeare aficiandos that, strangely enough, manages to satisfy both of these categories.

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