THE DAY THAT SHAKESPEARE DIED' -The Book
by Dorian Kelly
It can be ordered through any good bookseller.or direct from firstname.lastname@example.org ISBN NO 978 -0-9935334-1-9 Softback at £10.00 or at 12.50 inc p and p
By help of the most high and by the aid, benefit,support and comfort of ones friends, relatives and mere acquaintance, this noble book without reed, stylus or quill, but with a wonderful concord, proportion and measure of digital bit, key, disk and printer,has now been finished, finely bound and formed.Cursed be he that unlawfully may copy, and disturb the peaceof the copyright of Mr Dorian Kelly, crafter of fine wordsand Mr TonySmith, who hath made, rubricated and paintedthe exquisite imagery to be found herein: which rights
hath been most carefully reserved according to theCopyright. Patents and Designs Act 1988
That men may grow wiser every day, this has been published by :
The Gerilla Shakepeare Company
3 Gladstone Road, Colchester, United Kingdom CO12EB
I had better explain about the Celestial Pub. Have I told you about that already? I built myself the celestial pub - "The Your Bard Tavern cum Quantum-net Coffee Shoppe" largely to stave off personal boredom. Others have amused themselves with an amazing variety of stuff. Galileo made himself a bit of a Universe and a large telescope to observe it with and he is as happy as Larry. Larry built himself an Old Vic replica where he endlessly bores us all with an unending performance of “The Entertainer” and does “Now is the Winter of our Discontent” just to wind up the real Richard the Third. But the real prize goes to Hawking who has actually constructed a nice big black
hole, complete with Hawking radiation. He went off on a journey into its event horizon some considerable elapsed time ago, and no one has seen him since. That really does take the biscuit. Or takes the doughnut,which is what its shape turns out to be.
Yes, I am of course aware that some of these people may not have passed over, or indeed even been born yet at the time this book is published. It is one of the paradoxes of the eternal matrix that being alive or dead at any given moment is neither here nor there, and for that very reason, even I have to retreat into my safe haven ocassionaly for fear that I will be driven mad by the sheer implausibility and mind boggling scale of it all..
In the summer of 1559, I was just settling down to try and solve a structural problem with a play with which I was struggling. The brief given to me by Henslowe seemed to be intractable. He had commissioned a “Tragicomic Romance with a guaranteed popular appeal, very cheap to mount with a very small cast.” He was having one of his periodic austerity drives at the time, so ‘No lavish costumes props or scenery, understood?’
I had taken him a draft of a play which had all the popular themes, a boy playing a girl who dresses as a boy, and a father and son comedy routine. It majored on the foolish behaviour of people in love. He tossed back. “More comedy! That’s what sells the pies!”
That was where the problem lay. The most expensive actor at the time was Kempe, who kept threatening to “take up offers elsewhere” if we cut his already inflated salary, yet Henslowe wanted more comedy not less.
Back at my lodgings, I might have closed my eyes for a moment, as I was debating with myself whether to take some air and stroll to the George in the hope that inspiration would strike while observing the antics of the Borough low life, when I slowly became aware that a head was on my lap and a long wet tongue was licking my third-best codpiece. A very pleasant way to wake up, a very obliging visitor, I thought. But the shine was somewhat taken off when I realised that the head was that of a dog and what he was licking was not my nether regions per se, but the piece of bread that had dropped from my slumbering fingers
It was just a dog. A dog who came unannounced and uninvited into my lodgings in Silver Street. Just a dishevelled, ratty, tatty, whimpering flea ridden mutt, the scuffiest dog that e’re graced this world not to put too fine a point on it. But this dog was suffering. He was shivering, had a slight limp and matted fur and was covered in scars. Not the kind of scars that street strays were usually heir to, bitten ears, open wounds and so on, but more the marks of deliberate neglect or worse, burns, patches of missing fur and rheumy eyes. Nature teaches beasts to know their friends and when he raised his head and looked me in the eye, I just knew that from that moment on he was my dog. My dog.
Ok, he might have had a face like a toad that have been sat on, but what of that? My own face was no oil painting that I definitely knew. I have had hounds before, and usually, in the words of Theseus, they were bred out of the Spartan kind; So flew’d, so sanded; their heads hung with ears that sweep away the morning dew. Not this one. I would have, as one should say, one that takes upon him to be a dog indeed, to be as it were, a dog at all things. This was a dog all right. In fact I have never seen anyone more doggily doggish.
As to its breed, it were none and all, bit of this, bit of that, bit of everything, a real Heinzhound. A blackish, greyish, khaki sort of colour. He stopped whimpering, sat down at my feet, gave a great sigh and went to sleep.
I sent one of the horse boys out for something offalish and had him prepare it in a dish. But try to persuade him as I might, this dog was vastly uninterested in eating it. But at eight o’ clock that night he asked to be let out, and exactly half an hour later he came back with a well-fed expression and the remains of a crab in his mouth. And from then on and for the rest of his life, that is exactly what he did every day. Out at eight, back at half past with his dinner. You could set your watch by it if only watches had been invented then. Sometimes it was a rabbit he came in with, sometimes a bit of meat. Once, he came in dragging an entire side of beef. We both dined well that week. I never had to worry about feeding him. I called him, naturally enough, “Crab”. Well it was obvious. I had toyed with the idea of calling him Spot so I could do the “Out damn Spot!” gag, but in the light of the crustacean incident it seemed a little unfair. And it did suit him so.
Crab seemed to understand precisely what I was saying. He would consider it for a moment and then do exactly the opposite. If I asked him to sit, he stood. If I asked him to stand, he lay down. If I ordered him to heel he ran around barking furiously. Perfect, I thought. My kind of dog. Just like Kempe the comedy man - he cannot take direction either.
Then it came to me in a blinding flash of inspiration. I made a point of writing a special scene for the pair of them and introduced the dog to its adoring public with a couple of comedy routines. And that is how “Two Gentlemen of Verona” was turned from being just a light comedy, (admittedly with an attempted rape scene), into a broad comedy, starring, (fanfare, maestro, please!) Crab the Dog!
That made him a celebrity. His name was on all the posters, and that was enough to fill the house even on the dog days, if you will pardon the pun. He did special appearances, guest spots, a one-dog show, and cameo appearances in other peoples shows. He was even asked to turn up at weddings for good luck at an enhanced fee. A couple of times he appeared at Court after a special Royal request that he do his famous crap on the floor routine. Did it go to his head? Nope. He was just Crab. My friend, my companion, my confidante, my guard dog and my best mate. Until many years later he went out at eight and never came back. I went out and hunted and hunted, late into the night. I sent all the horse and poster boys out too. I was convinced that it might be a ransom job and I waited and waited for a demand which never came. I never saw him again until the day that I died.