Meet William-Henry Ireland, “the original slacker” says the Independent Shakespeare Company.
Last night I saw the last (for now) performance of this amazing one-person play, the one-person actor being David Melville. He can pull anything off with comic aplomb, perfect timing… And Melville is in his element with this turn around on authenticity. His character, Ireland, isn’t stealing other people’s work; he’s selling his own under Shakespeare’s name. Now, he’s no great talent so he’s busted right away, and the more authentic aspect of the story is the father-son relationship, a son trying anything to please a father (if that man really is the father…)
This screams out for us to consider what is authentic, and who cares. All language is shared, passed on, and held in common. The Christian scriptures are texts attributed to a particular tradition related to a particular person, not necessarily composed by that individual. So Ireland is writing in the School of Shakespeare, authentic insofar as he is trying his best to get it right.
Okay, I’m obsessed with this question (see No Words for Love and Famine) but even if you aren’t, and if there’s another opportunity to see this play, GO SEE THIS PLAY! It really is wonderful.