Fan fiction — stories about characters or settings from works like Star Trek, Twilight and Glee, that are written by fans of the books or shows rather than by the original creator — is definitely a modern phenomenon. But not without historical precedent: Unauthorized sequels of Samuel Richardson’s popular 1740 novel, Pamela; or, Virtue Rewarded were published, according to the University of Michigan. Alice in Wonderland and Sherlock Holmes both led to parodies and fan-authored spin-offs.
But what about William Shakespeare? Well, the Bard’s work remains in high demand, with modern and star-studded adaptations of plays like Romeo and Juliet and Much Ado About Nothing filling movie theaters every few years. But it’s not these reinventions that have captured the imagination of The Montford Park Players.
Instead, the theater company’s “Evening of Shakespeare Fan Fiction,” held Friday and Saturday, Jan. 10 and 11 (7:30 p.m. at Asheville’s historic Masonic Temple), features G.B. Shaw’s Dark Lady of the Sonnets and Vincent Dowling’s The Upstart Crow.
The former is a short play from 1910 about the character of “the Dark Lady” in Shakespeare’s sonnets. The latter was published in 1995. According to notes on the two-person plays, it’s “Set in 1616, a few months after William Shakespeare’s death, the plot involves Susanna calling on Burbage to learn more about her father. The Bard had spent little time with his family, deserting them early in Susanna’s childhood. Hall resented his absence and neglect … yet enjoyed the prestige of being the daughter of the famous writer and the financial success.”
The Montford Park Players shows star Trinity Smith and Darren Marshall with Patrick Ian Hackney, Kirstin Daniel, Mary Katherine O’Donnell and Dwight Chiles. According to a press release, “The production will be presented as a benefit for the Players’ capital campaign to renovate the Hazel Robinson Amphitheatre, and is directed by Scott Keel. Tickets are $30 for preferred Orchestra seating, and $15 for balcony seating, and may be purchased by calling the box office at 828-254-5146 or at https://montfordfanfiction.eventbrite.com. Tickets will include a post-show reception and a chance to meet and greet the actors.”