Photo Flash: Sneak Peek at Zion Theatre Company's Play About Shakespeare, THE DROWN'ED BOOK

William Shakespeare's plays have been the most talked about in the history of the world. Yet the Bard's own personal history is shrouded in mystery. Some of that mysterious history is explored in Zion Theatre Company's premiere production of The Drown'ed Book: Or the History of William Shakespeare, Part Last on August 25-26, 28, and September 1-2 at the Castle Outdoor Amphitheater Theatre in Provo, UT. BroadwayWorld has a sneak peek at the company in costume below!

"There are a lot of questions around Shakespeare and his family, but also a lot of tantalizing clues," said the show's Kennedy Center award winning playwright and director Mahonri Stewart. "We have wills, court and church records, information about his daughters and their marriages, the death of his 11 year-old-son Hamnet, legends, and-of course-the plays and poems themselves. I understand the reticence to read too much into the sonnets or plays, but there are too many delicious connections between them and what information we do have about Shakespeare to completely dismiss the connection his work has to his life. I've tried to keep the facts as true as I can to what we have, but I have also had a lot of fun playing what if? Based on the evidence, though, this is close to what I believe might have happened."

Taking on the weighty role of William Shakespeare is talented actor and theater educator Bradley Moss, who enjoys playing one of the greatest people in history, "It is interesting to play such an iconic figure. We see Shakespeare's stoic face in portraits, but know from his writing that he must have been passionate, pained, fun, and frustrated. He has had to balance his work and artistic calling with his role as husband and father. And he thinks he may have bungled that balance. We can all connect with that regret, I think."

That relationship which Shakespeare has with his family is pivotal to the play, from his strained relationship with his wife Anne, to the outright hostility from his daughter Judith. As he approaches the end of his life, he desires to repair those relationships and gain some measure of peace and redemption before he dies. Playing Shakespeare's wife Anne Shakespeare is actress and BYU theater instructor Shawnda Ludlow Moss, who has really taken to how the bond between the famous couple is portrayed in the show, "My favorite part of working on this show is exploring the relationship between William and Anne Shakespeare. Their life experiences and marriage are fascinating to me." Shawnda and Bradley Moss are actually married outside of the show as well, which has given their portrayals added dimension and intimacy.

Actress Zel Bromley-playing Shakespeare's daughter Judith Shakespeare-is a Bardophile herself who has been enthusiastic about her involvement in telling Shakespeare's history, having just recently returned herself from Shakespeare's birthplace Stratford Upon Avon, "William Shakespeare has been telling us stories for hundreds of years. It's been a joy to take a stab at telling Shakespeare's story. The human behind the name has always fascinated me. Playing Judith Shakespeare has been a discovery and a joy. She's compelling, sweet, and incredibly complex. I am sure audiences will love getting to know her."

There are other figures circling around Shakespeare's life that are equally as fascinating. One such historical figure is Thomas Quiney, Shakespeare's multifarious and controversial son-in-law. Quiney is also the show's antagonist. Quiney married Shakespeare's daughter Judith, but was cut out of Shakespeare's will after a stunning revelation about his past history came to light.

"Thomas Quiney is such a complex character," said actor Sam Schofield who portrays Quiney in the play. "Playing him on stage has been some of the most fun character development I've ever had the honor to experience. He is an antagonist, but it's also not fair to paint him with only that one label. It's been really fun to dig into his character and realize who he was. He may be slimy, arrogant, chauvinistic, and proud, but at his core he also just wants to love and be loved by Judith and that that love is 100% genuine. This is such a great story full of really diverse and fun characters."

The play is written almost entirely in iambic pentameter and blank verse, like many of Shakespeare's plays. Even going to the point of researching Elizabethan and Jacobean verbiage, playwright Stewart wanted to give audiences as authentic of an experience as he could conjure, "The research, the process, the story, the language, the poetry, the historical figures-it has all made this a very personal project for me. I couldn't have asked for a better cast, they have brought these historical characters back from the dead! Immersing my life in Shakespeare for the last few years while researching and writing this play-especially during the 400th of his death in 2016, which I called my 'Year of Shakespeare'-it has made me appreciate and love the Bard even more than I already did. Every time I go back to Shakespeare's well of creativity and brilliance, I come back deeply satisfied."

The Castle Outdoor Amphitheater is located at 1300 East Center Street, Provo, UT 84606, just above the Utah State Hospital, with performances starting at 7:30 pm. Tickets are $12 for general admission and $10 for students and seniors and can be purchased ahead of time at ziontheatrecompany.weebly.com, or can be bought at the door. Patrons are encouraged to bring any sort of blankets, pillows, chairs, or other outdoor amenities that will help make them more comfortable on the Castle's stone seating.

Photo Credit: Emily Drew

high res photos

Photo Flash: Sneak Peek at Zion Theatre Company's Play About Shakespeare, THE DROWN'ED BOOK
The cast of ZTC's THE DROWN'ED BOOK

Photo Flash: Sneak Peek at Zion Theatre Company's Play About Shakespeare, THE DROWN'ED BOOK
The cast of ZTC's THE DROWN'ED BOOK

Photo Flash: Sneak Peek at Zion Theatre Company's Play About Shakespeare, THE DROWN'ED BOOK
The cast of ZTC's THE DROWN'ED BOOK

Photo Flash: Sneak Peek at Zion Theatre Company's Play About Shakespeare, THE DROWN'ED BOOK
The cast of ZTC's THE DROWN'ED BOOK

Photo Flash: Sneak Peek at Zion Theatre Company's Play About Shakespeare, THE DROWN'ED BOOK
The cast of ZTC's THE DROWN'ED BOOK

Photo Flash: Sneak Peek at Zion Theatre Company's Play About Shakespeare, THE DROWN'ED BOOK
The cast of ZTC's THE DROWN'ED BOOK

Photo Flash: Sneak Peek at Zion Theatre Company's Play About Shakespeare, THE DROWN'ED BOOK
The cast of ZTC's THE DROWN'ED BOOK

Photo Flash: Sneak Peek at Zion Theatre Company's Play About Shakespeare, THE DROWN'ED BOOK
The cast of ZTC's THE DROWN'ED BOOK


Related Articles

Salt Lake City THEATER Stories | Shows  Follow BWW Salt Lake


From This Author BWW News Desk

Before you go...