The Bard Bites Back by David James and Graham Pitts
Directed by Wolf Heidecker
Musical Comedy with the Macduff Jazz Quartet, and Jeffrey Bryan Jones, Annie Stanford, Adrian Mulraney
PREMIERE - SEASON 2016 at Phee Broadway Theatre, Castlemaine Vic 3450, The Mills Street Theatre, Cheltenham - to be submitted to Showcase 2019
Thanks to our sponsors, Creative Victoria, RACV, Archisign, Diamond Valley Vietnam Veterans Association, Hornsby RSL Sub Branch.
Who wrote Shakespeare’s plays? Anybody but Shakespeare, it seems. In the last week we have been told that it was Christopher Marlowe who co-wrote the Henry VI play, according to the New Oxford Shakespeare. And that is just one theory. Alternative author claims range from Edward de Vere, to the Earl of Oxford, to William Stanley, to Sir Francis Bacon – even Queen Elizabeth 1!
As the controversy rages on, finally there will be a spirited defence of the great man. The Bard Bites Back, a play written by playwright, jazz musician and journalist David A James, is coming to Castlemaine’s Phee Broadway Theatre. The play features the Bard’s ghost - he is cranky and he wants to set the record straight.
“If Shakespeare was alive today he would be horrified but amused,” says James. “Horrified there are so many theories about who wrote his plays, but amused at the glorious folly of it all. He would have loved the comic drama of it all.”
The Bard Bites Back features an outstanding acting cast, with Andrew Gray as Shakespeare, and Annie Stanford and Adrian Mulraney in multiple roles, including performances of some Shakespearean text.
It showcases songs set to Shakespearean text performed by vocalist Lisa Jacques and accompanied by the Macduff Jazz Quartet.
David James worked on the play with the Australian playwright Graham Pitts. The producer and director is Wolf Heidecker. Heidecker describes the play as a cross genre piece that is “an original take on combining music and acting.” Gray, who plays Shakespeare, says he finds it fascinating to perform the greatest playwright the world has ever known. “In the play Shakespeare lives in four worlds: the world he created in his plays, the Elizabethan world where he enjoyed immense fame, his after-life and the glorious tradition that he created after he left us.
“It is quite a lineage. And then, of course, we have a lot of fun with alternative authorship theories. Above all, we show how the Bard would have us prize life itself, as he undoubtedly did.”
The Bard Bites Back premiered 2016, the year of the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death.
Comment after the Opening Night that sums up what many audience members said:Amazing and resourceful, determined and talented… The work entertains as well as surprises. Ariette Taylor, Director