The Beard of Avon

by  Amy Freed

Full Length Play, Comedy  /  8m, 2f

This delicious and witty farce fashions the longstanding debate over who really penned the Bard's cannon into a merry look at the mortality of artists and the immortality of their legacy.


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The Beard of Avon

by  Amy Freed

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  • Cast Size

    Cast Size

    8m, 2f
  • Duration

    Duration

    More than 120 minutes (2 hours)
  • Accolades

    Accolades

    The Ted Schmitt Award
  • Audience

    Target Audience

    • Adult
    • Teen (Age 14 - 18)

Additional Info

A bumpkin known as "Will Shakspere" who longs to be an artist flees from his filthy barn, his homebound wife and her incessant chores. In Elizabethan London, did this stagestruck dreamer become a front man for Sir Francis Bacon, the Earl of Oxford and even Queen Elizabeth, authors too proud to admit they scribbled plays for the unwashed masses? This delicious and witty farce fashions the longstanding debate over who really penned the Bard's cannon into a merry look at the mortality of artists and the immortality of their legacy. With a gleeful wink at intervening centuries, the author portrays Will's comic struggles to become an artist in his own right while she reflects on artistic inspiration, the struggle to become an artistic master and the very meaning of creativity.
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Accolades

  • WINNER! 2002 Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Ted Schmitt Award, Outstanding New Play

Reviews

REVIEWS

"[A] sparkling academic comedy...Highbrow art served up as lowgrade fun." - Variety, Read More

"You don't have to be a Shakespeare aficionado to appreciate [this] satisfying...shrewd and ambitious [play]...Big ideas...are delivered with a genuine awe and delight at the genius in [Shakespeare's] 37 plays, whoever is responsible." - The New York Times, Read More

Considerations

Performing Groups

  • College Theatre / Student
  • Community Theatre
  • Professional Theatre

License details

  • Minimum Fee: $75 per performance

Production

Details

  • Time Period: 16th Century / Elizabethan
  • Duration: More than 120 minutes (2 hours)
  • Setting: Stratford-upon-Avon and London
  • Features / Contains: Period Costumes

Casting

8m, 2f

WILLIAM SHAKSPERE - A lad of Stratford. In his early thirties, mostly. Simple, honest, very appealing fellow. Possessor of hidden gifts.
EDWARD DE VERE - 17th Earl of Oxford. In his forties. Wicked, charming, sexy, brilliant. A closet writer.
ELIZABETH - Queen of England. Between forty and sixty. A sacred monster. Wants a boyfriend.
ANNE HATHAWAY - Shakespeare's wife. Lively, illiterate, promiscuous.
*HENRY WRIOTHESLEY - 20's. Young and beautiful. Third Earl of Southhampton. Edward de Vere's lover.
*OLD COLIN - An ancient shepherd, and Shakespeare's friend.
*JOHN HEMINGE - Manager of an acting company.
*HENRY CONDELL - Heminge's partner.
*GEOFFREY DUNDERBREAD - A boy player.
*RICHARD BURBAGE - A leading man.

*Actors in these parts also double or triple in the folowing roles:

Members of Elizabeth's Court
FRANCIS BACON
LADY LETTICE
FRANCIS WALSINGHAM
LORD BULEIGH
EARL OF DARBY

WALTER FITCH - a playwright

Others:
MINSTREL WITH A BEAUTIFUL VOICE

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Cast Attributes

  • Reduced casting (Doubling Possible)

Resources

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Authors

Amy Freed

Amy Freed

The Beard of Avon premiered at South Coast Repertory Theatre in Costa Mesa, CA in November of 2001 under the direction of David Emmes.

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