Wednesday, September 3, 2014


The Hudson Shakespeare Company (HSC) is proud to announce a new play reading series that delves where few theater companies dare to tread


Hudson Shakespeare Company will be reading three of these playsto pick one for inclusion in their 2015 summer season. Members of the company will read:

ARDEN OF FAVERSHAM on September 20th, described as Desperate Housewives and the movie Fargo meets Shakespeare. The play is a black comedy about a bored housewife and her clueless lover as they try one stupid scheme after another to kill her husband and contains a surprise ending.

SIR THOMAS MORE on October 25th. This play contains the only surviving manuscript pages in Shakespeare’s handwriting and follows episodes in the life of Saint Thomas More, more famously depicted in A Man for All Seasons.

The play combines scenes and commentary on immigrants and refugees that’s surprisingly modern while also showing the lighter side of this famous figure.

MUCEDORUS, PRINCE OF VALENCIA on November 15. This is Monty Python’s Spamalot and children’s theater meets Shakespeare. A disguised prince seeks love and adventure and finds it in the form of princess who’s on the run, a cocky count, a monotone caveman, and a goofy servant who loves to make bad jokes. Any serious theme found in this play is completely unintentional.

arden_pageAs opposed to the “Shakespeare Canon,” the accepted and familiar play titles written by William Shakespeare (A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet), the Apocrypha is a collection of plays that have, at one time or another, been attributed to Shakespeare.

The name Apocrypha is taken from holy books that appear in certain versions of the Bible and are excluded from others. Like their biblical counterparts, an official list of how many plays comprise the Apocrypha is open to debate.

The recently published William Shakespeare and Others: Collaborative Plays by the Royal Shakespeare Company reproduces 10 plays but the website notes some 45 titles.

These plays appear across Shakespeare’s career from his earliest working days as an actor and writer in London to some printed or coming to light well after his death. As a result some titles (Edward III, The Spanish Tragedy) have stronger connections to him and his theater company than others (The Merry Devil of Edmonton, Sir John Oldcastle). In the last 15 years with the addition of these texts to the internet, computer studies known as Stylometrics have shed new light on these works and that there may actually be some Shakespeare in these plays.

These programs look to sift out unique usages of words and combinations of words that can show a writer’s “voice” in both their known works and others.

Artistic Director, Jon Ciccarelli, notes “A good deal of recent scholarship has determined that a handful of these plays are partly by Shakespeare and as a Shakespeare company that produces lesser done Shakespeare plays, we want to explore them.”

“In 2012, we produced a version of Double Falsehood which supposedly contains the text of the known, but now lost, Shakespeare collaboration Cardenio. Not only was it an interesting and fun script to adapt for our summer Shakespeare in the Parks festival but it was also one of our better attended shows, even more so than some known titles like Othello. So it shows that audiences are receptive to lesser done or even dubious Shakespeare titles as much if not more than the usual Shakespeare titles…you never know some of these titles may officially be added to the canon.”

So Ciccarelli adds, “In true Italian style, we’ll get together with our extended actor family, those who have worked with us on our summer tours, and with some homemade pizza and wine we’ll read and act out the shows and discuss the high and low points. From these round table sessions, we’ll pick one of these shows to produce next July. Nothing beats the live collaboration between actors in dissecting plays and tossing around ideas on how to adapt them, especially these unknown works. I believe, its very much the way that Shakespeare and his fellow writers would collaborate in writing these plays. I think more plays were written over a pint in the local pub than over a desk. ”

The company will be announcing their season in January 2015 but intend to bracket the July showing of the Apocryphal play with more common known Shakespeare titles. For more information on the company, please visit or on Facebook at