Tracking down Shakespeare’s works story of play

SEQUIM — Tonight is the opening night of “The Book of Will,” a different take on Shakespeare, at Olympic Theatre Arts.

Showtimes for the play by Lauren Gunderson, which is said to be based upon a true story, are 7:30 p.m. today, June 17-18 and June 24-25; and 2 p.m. this Sunday and on June 19 and June 26 at the theater at 414 N. Sequim Ave., in Sequim.

Tickets are $18 for adults and $12 for students and can be purchased online at olympictheatrearts.org.

Thursday, June 23, will be a pay-what-you-will and immunocompromised performance. For that night only, tickets will be free, but masking will be required. Donations will be accepted.

The play is directed by Marissa Meek.

The storyline is that two actors who worked closely with William Shakespeare, Henry Condell and John Heminges, compiled the First Folio of their friend and mentor’s plays to preserve them.

After Shakespeare’s death, rogue productions of his work were being performed.

“Competing theatre companies would send children to the shows to transcribe what they heard to steal it for their own,” according to OTA on its website, and Shakespeare’s band of actors were dying off.

Condell and Hemings, disgusted by the mutilation and theft of Shakespeare’s words, were determined to publish Shakespeare’s complete works.

But Shakespeare never wrote his full scripts down in one manuscript, OTA said. He handed out just the parts each actor needed to perform.

So the two actors had to track down all of Shakespeare’s written works to accomplish their task, resulting in “an unforgettable true story of love, loss, and laughter” that “sheds new light on a man you may think you know,” OTA said.

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