The Book of Will: Safekeeping a Playwright’s Legacy.

Get ready, Shakespeare fans, for a play about the legacy of the legendary playwright in The Book of Will created by Lauren Gunderson, the author of Silent Sky and the Christmas at Pemberley series. Originally commissioned and produced at the Denver Centre Theatre Company, this production was directed by Karen Lund and produced by the Taproot Theatre Company.

From 1619 to 1623, the story follows Henry Condell and John Heminges, two contemporaries of William Shakespeare. After a close friend of theirs dies, they remain afraid that the brilliant plays of William Shakespeare will soon be forgotten and lost to time. To prevent this fate, the two devise a plan to compile the works of Shakespeare and publish them into a book. Based on a true story, The Book of Will follows the hardships, friendships, and tragedy that the two face as they try their hardest to preserve Shakespeare’s plays that mean so much to them.

I had an absolute blast watching the performance this Saturday. Karen Lund did a brilliant job in bringing to life this spectacular true story. As a fan of the works of William Shakespeare, I truly felt the love of his plays in the show. The play contains multiple references to many of the other works of Shakespeare, so younger, less aware viewers may not get a lot of the references.

The set design done by Mark Lund, as well as the costumes by Nanette Acosta, did an amazing job of immersing me in the time period. The lighting during crucial and emotional scenes did an excellent job of enhancing the emotion brought on in the performances.

Every actor in the show did a spectacular job and were all fantastic to watch. A couple of performances that stood out to me included Nolan Palmer as Richard Burbage/William Jaggard, Eric Jensen as John Heminges, and Reginald Andre Jackson as Henry Condell. An example of an outstanding scene that stood out to me was an emotional scene by Eric and Reginald where a loved one had passed away and they were in mourning. The raw emotion from these two left me speechless. It was truly breathtaking.

Overall, The Book of Will is a truly unforgettable experience that I highly recommend to all lovers of classic Shakespeare. The audience I was watching the show with mainly consisted of elderly folk, which is probably the perfect audience for this play.

The Book of Will. Taproot Theatre Company’s Isaac Studio Theatre. 212 N 85th St, Seattle, WA 98103. Jan 24–Feb 24, 2024. Info here: https://taproottheatre.org/shows/2024/the-book-of-will/

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