An Evening With Will Shakespeare | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

Arts & Culture » Performing Arts Review

An Evening With Will Shakespeare


Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe


An Evening With Will Shakespeare, Heartland Cafe Studio Theater. That young men have written poetry in order to attract girls comes as no surprise, nor that their metaphors frequently camouflage sentiments of less than lofty intent. But never has the line between art and autobiography been finer than in this innocuously titled supposed stroll down memory lane by an infirm and embittered William Shakespeare on the eve of his 52nd birthday.

Every Brit-lit student knows that the Bard is talking about masturbation in "The expense of spirit in a waste of shame." Who'd have thought, however, that "Why didst thou promise such a beauteous day" forgives his mistress for giving him syphilis, just after he upbraids her for not warning him to wear a condom in the line "No more be griev'd at that which thou hast done"? Or that he caricatured his most loyal patron in All's Well That Ends Well, alienating that gentleman forever?

Dan Decker's comfortably chatty monologue, directed by Tom Lenane, incorporates a number of Shakespeare's poems as well as juicy backstage stories of "the Burbage boys" and angry my-father-didn't-love-me diatribes. At the preview performance I attended, this one-man show was played vigorously (if a little too broadly for the tiny Heartland space) by Jason Grubbe. Decker's scholarship may strike some as speculative, but it's still reason enough to question what we didn't learn in school.

Support Independent Chicago Journalism: Join the Reader Revolution

We speak Chicago to Chicagoans, but we couldn’t do it without your help. Every dollar you give helps us continue to explore and report on the diverse happenings of our city. Our reporters scour Chicago in search of what’s new, what’s now, and what’s next. Stay connected to our city’s pulse by joining the Reader Revolution.

Are you in?

  Give $35/month →  
  Give $10/month →  
  Give  $5/month  → 

Not ready to commit? Send us what you can!

 One-time donation  → 

Add a comment