When Shakespeare died, he famously left his wife Anne only one thing, the second best bed.
This superb one-woman play, full of both humour and pathos, has received great critical acclaim since its premier at the Swan Theatre Worcester in 2012. Liz Grand stars as Anne Hathaway on the night of Shakespeare’s funeral. The wake has finished, the mourners have all gone home, leaving Anne to remember her life with the most talented playwright the world has ever seen. Or was he? Did he write the plays? His widow would know if anybody did. Wouldn’t she?
There has long been argument over whether someone other than William Shakespeare could have written the works attributed to him. Anti-Shakespeareans say Shakespeare of Stratford was a front to shield the identity of the real author or authors, who for some reason did not want or could not accept the public credit. His humble origins and obscure life is seen as incompatible with his poetic eminence and his reputation for genius, and, it is argued, there is a lack of evidence to support his literary eloquence. This controversy has spawned a vast body of literature, and over 70 alternative authorship candidates have been proposed, including Francis Bacon, the 6th Earl of Derby, Christopher Marlowe, and the 17th Earl of Oxford.
The Second Best Bed sees Anne Hathaway take centre stage to reflect on her life with the great writer. Sharing her intimate memories and personal views she reminisces back over the years the circumstances of their marriage, the writing of the plays and their time spent together, and apart.
“Lifts the lid on a Tudor can of worms……..a showcase for the towering acting skills of Liz Grand.” Worcester News