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Shakespeare & Beyond

The Book of Will: An imagined backstory for the Shakespeare First Folio

The Book of Will
The Book of Will

The Book of Will, a new play by Lauren Gunderson, explores the back-story of how Shakespeare’s friends assembled his plays into the book we know today as the First Folio, without which we might have forever lost plays such as Macbeth, Julius Caesar, and Twelfth Night.

Commissioned by and originally produced at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, and developed at the Colorado New Play Summit, the play is onstage at the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival Jun 9-Jul 28, directed by Davis McCallum.

The Book of Will

The Book of Will at Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival, 2017. Photo by T. Charles Erickson.

The play is populated with Shakespeare’s two friends and fellow actors, John Heminges and Henry Condell, but also their wives and a daughter, as well as Shakespeare’s scribe Ralph Crane and the shady publisher William Jaggard. Richard Burbarge and Ben Jonson both make an appearance, and (spoiler alert!) Shakespeare’s wife, Anne Hathaway, shows up at the end.