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Shakespeare grilled

Pat ThompsonDon Hardy portrays William Shakespeare at the Valhalla Renaissance Festival.
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At the queen’s request, William Shakespeare is visiting the Valhalla Renaissance Faire to write a play, a portion to be performed at 4 p.m. Sunday, June 7. The bard answered a few questions from the scribes at

Lake Tahoe Action. Bay Area actor Donald Hardy portrays Shakespeare.

Q: Who are you really? King James? Queen Elizabeth, Sir Francis Bacon? Duke Edward De Vere? Are you really William Shakespeare?



A: Yes, Sir. I am a playwright. I lived in Stratford, and I came to London and I made my way with my pen. Yes, I have written my things. I have borrowed from occasional classical sources, but I write my own words. I have heard these rumors, and I know not where they started. I am confounded.

Q: Speaking of words, which words did you invent?




A: I invented a large number of them, and I actually do not have a list prepared. But I understand there are dictionaries on what you call line that have lists of such words that were first found in my works. I write what inspiration strikes me, and if new words are invented or created then those are new, I suppose, to the language. It is a fertile time in the English language. New words are created more now than at any time in the past.

Q: This was our trivia question that won free entry here for six of our readers. What was your first play?

A: “(The) Comedy of Errors” is the first one I had performed, Sir.

Q: But which was the one you first wrote?

A: There is no complete knowledge of that. I have kept it well hidden, Sir.

Q: We thought it was “Henry VI, Part I.”

A: There is no great knowledge that it is my “Henry VI.” It is largely assumed that that is the case. The earliest they have actually record on, people seem to think. Simply by style and how it is written, it’s “The Comedy of Errors. But “Henry VI,” there is an early record of performance of that play I think in the year 15 and 90, but I am not absolutely certain. But I am vague with dates. I am good with words, Sir. Not numbers.

Q: Why did you will your wife your second-best bed?

A: It is the one we shared the greatest pleasure, Sir.

Q: What is your favorite movie adaptation of your work?

A: What is a movie, Sir?

Interpreter: In the time in whence we come, they have adapted scripts into pictures that move on a screen with actors.

A: I have seen these. Yes. There have been several that I have found most delightful. The earliest one I saw and which struck me most was “As You Like It,” with a woman called Dame Helen Mirren playing Rosalind. She was utterly brilliant. And there was a young man, Kenneth Branagh, who has done wonderful work, “Henry V,” that moved me deeply.

Q: Gwyneth Paltrow – Wouldst thou hit that?

A: I understand not your question, Sir. I think I know who of you speak. She is a lovely lady, but no, Sir. If I take the point of your question, I am a married man, of course, with children. And considerably older than Miss Paltrow. I think it would appall her, the concept.

Interpreter: Having seen the performances of many of your plays, it has come to my attention that there are quite a lot of good, filthy jokes in iambic pentameter. What’s your favorite?

A: Sir, there are far too many to name. And I would not call them filthy. I would call them amusing plays on words. Body puns. One that leaps to mind, “but that I shall hang my bugle in an invisible baldric all women shall pardon me.” In other words, my bugle shall not be restrained by one woman. That’s all that leaps to mind. Again, there are far too many from which to choose.

– Tim Parsons conducted the interview. Dan Thomas served as an interpreter, and he was not technically wearing a dress.

What: 17th annual Valhalla Renaissance Faire

WheN: Saturday and Sunday, June 6-7

special attraction: Pirate invasion and jousting by the Knights of Avalon

where: West side of Highway 89, just north of Camp Richardson

shuttle: From the “Y” intersection of highways 89 and 50.

tickets: $18 for adults; $13 for seniors, military and ages 13 through 17; $8 for children


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