Saturday, August 29, 2009

On Concord Shakespeare Fest by Samuel Blumenfeld

A few weeks ago I attended an exhilarating Shakespeare conference in Concord, Massachusetts (July 31 - August 2), organized by Stuart Weeks, an Oxfordian who urged me, a Marlovian, to attend. This second annual Shakespeare festival was entitled, “Much Ado About Shakespeare – A Festive Conference.”

All of the Oxfordian conferences I’ve attended in the last year or so have had little to do about Edward de Vere and more to do with the works of Shakespeare. And now that my book has been published, I have been warmly accepted as the Marlovian in the crowd.

I have been told by Stuart that I will be able to give a Marlovian presentation at next year’s conference. That is real progress. While he organizes next year’s presenters, I will acquaint him with Daryl Pinksen and other wonderful contributors to this blog.

There were presenters from England, Minneapolis, Colorado, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Boston. All of the presentations were of high professional quality. There was music and dance by Maren and Alan Stott of England. A fascinating talk on the history of money, “Shakespeare: The Monetary Backdrop,” given by Richard Kotlarz of Minneapolis. As a result of the talk, I now see the Merchant of Venice in a different light. It is not an anti-Semitic play. It is a play about economics and money. And that also holds true for the Jew of Malta, which I suggested he read.

Lida McGirr, an actress, put on a wonderful show depicting the successive states of Margaret’s personality in the Henry VI trilogy: virgin, wife, mother, crone, and old woman. Since I, and many orthodox scholars, believe that Marlowe wrote the trilogy, Lida’s performance revealed the great genius of the playwright in his ability to create such a fascinating woman.

No doubt the most Oxfordian presentation at the conference was Hank Whittemore’s engrossing performance in which he asserted that the Earl of Oxford had an affair with Queen Elizabeth which resulted in the birth of the Earl of Southampton, or Henry IX. Whittemore quoted from the Sonnets, “written by Oxford,” which was to prove the truth of the story. And he connected all of that with the Essex rebellion, Southampton’s imprisonment, and later pardon by James. It made excellent theater, but since the basic premise is sheer fantasy, I enjoyed it with a large grain of Marlovian salt.

There was a very good presentation on “Shakespeare’s Women: Why Do They Have to Die?” Plus, two very stimulating talks on Shakespeare and music.

Kudos to Stuart Weeks, who managed to create a conference with something for everyone via a great variety of talents and subject matter. If, as expected, I am able to give a presentation on Christopher Marlowe next year, 2010’s Shakespeare festival will be even more exhilarating.

Samuel Blumenfeld

© Samuel Blumenfeld, August 2009

Samuel Blumenfeld, a World War II veteran of the Italian campaign, has authored more than ten books. His latest, The Marlowe-Shakespeare Connection: A New Study of the Authorship Question, was published by McFarland. He is a former editor in the New York book publishing industry and has lectured widely. His writings have appeared in such diverse publications as Esquire, Reason, Education Digest, Vital Speeches of the Day, Boston, and many others. He is a regular contributor to MSC.

See Sam on YouTube addressing the authorship controversy.

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Dr. Mark said...

I have seen Hank's performance. Very entertaining.

Anonymous said...

whittemore does a great show

Leeds said...


Nice to see that they let you in!