Dublin actress embarks on a quest to uncover the true identity of Shakespeare


William Shakespeare - William Shakespeare by John Taylor, tags: rose - CC BY-SA

In her riveting new show, “A Rose by Any Other Name,” Dublin actress and lawyer Rose Loughlin presents a captivating argument that challenges the widely accepted notion of William Shakespeare as the author of his celebrated works. Currently playing at Smock Alley Theatre in Dublin, this Edinburgh Fringe Festival success invites audiences to join Loughlin on her intriguing journey to uncover the legendary playwright’s real identity.

With personal anecdotes, meticulous investigation, and a touch of theatrics, Loughlin proposes Edward de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford, as the likely writer behind Shakespeare’s works.

From Serendipitous Discovery to Unyielding Passion

Rose stumbled upon Shakespeare’s background as a classical acting student and found herself inexplicably drawn to the enigma surrounding his authorship. This casual curiosity evolved into a relentless quest for the truth, leading her to Europe’s historic sites, from Cambridge to Padua to Venice.

Armed with her legal background, Loughlin meticulously scrutinized historical documents and narratives, adding new dimensions to the centuries-old question.

A Personal Odyssey and a Historical Enigma

Beyond an academic pursuit, “A Rose by Any Other Name” is a deeply personal story of self-discovery, transformation, and the power of questioning long-held beliefs. Through the show, Loughlin’s tales are artfully connected to the intriguing problem of who wrote the plays attributed to Shakespeare.

This captivating show invites audiences to reassess the legacy of a famous literary figure, providing new insights into timeless debates.

Applying some analytical skills from my legal career to Shakespeare, I travelled to places associated with de Vere; where he was born, lived and worked, visited, and died.

Rose Louglin

The Controversy Behind the Existence of Shakespeare

For ages, the real identity of William Shakespeare has been a mysterious enigma. What if the renowned playwright, as we perceive him, was not an individual but a collective effort by a group of women using a shared pseudonym? The provocative theory challenging the singular identity of ‘Shakespeare’ has been gaining prominence, prompting intriguing inquiries into gender, authorship, and the essence of creativity.

It is opportune for us to delve into the evidence supporting this theory and contemplate its impact on our perception of Shakespeare’s enduring legacy.

The playwright’s intimate understanding of various lifestyles, spanning from sailors to servants, challenges the limitations of his time, marked by restricted mobility and limited exposure to diverse cultures. This prompts questions about how Shakespeare, a middle-class man from a provincial English town, acquired the extensive knowledge reflected in his plays.

The discrepancy between his formal education, which concluded at age 13, and his mastery of languages, law, astronomy, music, and vast geographical and cultural landscapes fuels the intrigue behind this theory. The contradictions in Shakespeare’s portrayal of experiences, including descriptions of foreign countries and even the taste of an orange not present in England during his lifetime, raise further questions about the origins of his extraordinary insights.

Acclaims from Critics and the Audience

Receiving acclaim from critics and audiences, ‘A Rose by Any Other Name’ has been lauded by The Scotsman as “beautifully performed” and “genuinely insightful,” with potential for an excellent documentary series. Loughlin’s remarkable command of dialogue and thorough research earned a commendation from Theatre and Arts Reviews.com.

Audience testimonials describe the show as “intellectually stimulating” and “emotionally engaging,” making it a top choice not just for Shakespeare enthusiasts but anyone seeking highbrow entertainment with a personal touch. As the curtains fall, the impact lingers, challenging perceptions about literary figures and bridging past and present, fact and fiction. Beyond a theatrical experience, it prompts reflection on historical mysteries, further examining accepted truths.

The show runs from March 4th to 9th at Smock Alley Theatre, with matinee performances on Saturday, March 9th.

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