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The Common Will – Dublin Fringe Festival (2008)

“No one is ever as good as their lines.”

Bishops are burning books. The Spanish are about to sail up the Thames. Will Shakespeare’s fellow playwrights are getting stabbed in taverns. Can our hero steal a theatre, juggle his lovers and still write a long play about a gloomy Danish prince? Find out how in The Common Will, a short play about a desperately talented man.

Shakespeare is among the least-known of the best-known writers. Scholars have debated his biography for centuries. Writer and performer Phil Kingston takes his perspective from the man himself: what Dominic Dromgoole calls “his understanding of the pervading squalor of human response.” If Shakespeare’s specialty was “the non-heroes, the confused, the human, the scrappy, and the messy,” it is fair to assume he had a bit of this himself. The result is The Common Will, an intimate first-person portrait of how Will navigated the stormy waters of 1599. Using snippets of history, snatches of plays, and a healthy dose of pure imagination, Kingston lifts the mask of genius to introduce a man.

Phil Kingston is an accomplished actor and writer whose 2006 Dublin Fringe Festival one-person performance, Dr. Dillon and Ms. Georgia, received wide acclaim. In a four-star review for the Irish Times, Peter Crawley called his performance “captivating” and “inspiring”. Ian Walsh, reviewing the 2006 festival for Irish Theatre Magazine, wrote this about Kingston’s achievement: “He was stunning. With a bare stage and the presence of one man who seems, shaman-like, to be possessed by troubled souls, the power of theatre as a medium was revealed. In all its primal and ritualistic glory, this production screamed against the banality of daytime TV.”

Painted Filly Theatre is proud to offer another new play containing nothing but profane fables, lascivious matters, cozening devices, and scurrilous behaviours, and encourages all vagrant persons, masterless men, thieves, horse stealers, whore-mongerers, cozeners, coney-catchers, contrivers of treason, and other idle and dangerous persons to book their tickets early.

Painted Filly Theatre, in association with Hungry Ghost Theatre and the Dublin Fringe Festival, will present The Common Will in Bewley’s Cafe Theatre, at 1:00 PM from 8 to 13 September 2008. Nick Johnson will direct, Katherine Graham will design, and Jennifer Killelea will produce.

THE COMMON WILL by Phil Kingston

Directed by Nicholas Johnson
Produced by Jennifer Killelea
Painted Filly Theatre / Hungry Ghost Theatre
Bewley’s Cafe Theatre, 1:00 PM
Ticket prices: €12 full, €10 concession
€8 preview & matinee
Please note that lunch will not be served.

Common Will Programme



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