Inside this week | Shakespeare, whoever he was

February 17th, 2012

This article is more than 11 years old.

We’re never going to know whether William Shakespeare (Shakespeare Unplugged, an original play from That Theatre that revisits several of the bard’s works for inspiration) was really the author of all those plays or a brand that one or several writers wrote under.  

One popular theory doing the rounds is ‘Oxfordism’, and a swift look at the Earl of Oxford’s CV verifies the claim. He grew up among scholars (conversely he went to Cambridge University), was familiar with court (36 of the 37 plays are partially set there) and Italy (14), was shipwrecked (The Tempest), spent time in prison (Measure for Measure), was wounded by a member of a lover’s family (Romeo and Juliet), and his nickname was the ‘Spear shaker’.

But still, isn’t it more likely that he was at best a contributor and that the plays were collaborative works by the acting group The Lord Chamberlain’s Men, of which Shakespeare was a member? Once their reputation grew, they probably welcomed submissions (a bit like Mills & Boon, although nobody’s going to be trying to identify any of their writers in 400 years time), which they then used as a springboard for improvisation.

Hamlet could have been the result of a chance encounter with a drunk Danish sailor: “So, there’s this prince, hic, and he’s to be, sorry not to be … for fanden, this tavern’s in a rotten state.”

Talking of pubs, have you checked out Sankt Nicolai Restaurant and Pub on Nikolajgade in the city centre, because despite its name, it has an extremely strong claim to be the most authentic English boozer in Copenhagen thanks to its darts board, banter in the bar and sports lounge, and the best Yorkshire puddings in town. Judging by the effort made at its official opening in January it deserves to be a success, so make sure you pop in for a pint or two next time you’re in town – particularly as there’s a special offer for anyone with a copy of the current newspaper.

Perhaps that might be for a sneaky half during Fastelavn, or some of the ongoing children’s half-term activities, because as the bard himself might have said, measure for measure it’s the best place for a winter’s ale.


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