In Search of Shakespeare: Season 1, Episode 4

For All Time (Feb 25, 2004)

TV EpisodeDocumentary | Biography | History
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In March 1603 Queen Elizabeth I dies with no heir. King James of Scotland, whose mother, Mary Queen of Scots Elizabeth had beheaded, succeeds to the English throne. Shakespeare's company is made to serve the king with theater on Christmas holiday. In 1605, when the Gunpowder Plot is foiled, the king takes a firm and cruel anti-papist stance and it is during this time that Shakespeare writes "MacBeth". The king sees it as seditious and bans any further productions. As Protestantism is forced upon all English subjects through heavy fines, imposed a on Shakespeare's daughter Susanna herself, he next writes and produces "King Lear". After the beginnings of civil uprising of the Diggers of Warwickshire, the day following his attendance of Susanna's marriage to a Puritan doctor, a marriage that will finally bear him a grandchild, Shakespeare returns to London to write and produce "Coriolanus". He and the company open a second theater across the river Thames in London, in the Priory of the Blackfriars. They made more money here in their indoor winter theater than they did at The Globe. They were able to use lighting to set darker moods for their plays like "Cardenio", a music filled rendition of a new translation of "Don Quixote". The Blackfriars' shows raised the social status of actors, the sure sign of their arrival demonstrated in having their portraits painted. The mixing of Shakespeare and his actors with scientists and explorers, may have lead to his discovery of attempts to reach The New World, and inspired his last solo play, "The Tempest". The next year he returns to Warwickshire, buys more land, but rather than retiring, buys a known Catholic safehouse next to Blackfriars. He writes and produces "Henry VIII" at Blackfriars. In 1614 The Globe burns down and Shakespeare divests his shares in there and returns to Warwickshire, bowing out of the theater. He lives a life of leisure, traveling with his son-in-law to London on occasional business trips, generally living the small town life as a pillar of the local church and society. He falls ill in 1616 and dies 23rd April, leaving the bulk of his estate to his daughter Susanna, and some bits to his actors and the marital bed to his wife Anne. Seven years after his death in 1623 actors Heminges and Condell had 37 of his plays printed in a folio, rescuing 16 plays that had never been published and would have been lost forever without their effort to preserve and record his literary legacy, as gesture of their love for their dear friend. This is borne out in the personal tributes that preface the folio. Written By catnap222  Less

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