‘Behind the Name SHAKESPEARE: Power, Lust, Scorn & Scandal’: Directed by Robin Phillips
Believe it or not one of the most admired writers in the English language, William Shakespeare, has always had an academic debate swirling around his name. Historians and literary scholars alike have wondered whether his works are really his. Some believe he wrote certain pieces he’s attributed to, while others think he is wrongly attributed to all of his works.
The documentary film Behind the Name SHAKESPEARE: Power, Lust, Scorn & Scandal directed, written, and starring Robin Phillips (or Christina de Marlo) explores the questions long surrounding the man lovingly referred to as The Bard. Some of the questions brought up in the film include: “Why was the most creative poet western civilization ever produced passed off as a commoner from a rustic village on the outskirts of London? And what drives an industry desperate to maintain this charade?”
This movie about Shakespeare, while asking academic and scholarly questions takes a fun lighthearted approach to the subject. Jokes and costumes help to keep the documentary fun and interesting – though, we think the academic debate around Shakespeare is pretty interesting on its own.
The film investigates the lives of two men – the man we’ve all come to associate with sonnets and plays like Romeo and Juliet, and another man who the movie posits is potentially the more likely author. Instead of a poor commoner the film makes a case for a rich nobleman with close ties to Queen Elizabeth I as the real Shakespeare.
Author Laird Williams describes the movie this way, “This is the cleverest, most succinct, and bonus – most fun – summation of the Shakespeare Authorship Question ever produced, bar none . . . 1,000 kudos.”
Robin Phillips the brain power behind the film Behind the Name SHAKESPEARE: Power, Lust, Scorn & Scandal has worked and studied in many different places around the world including Washington D.C., Bonn, Wiesbaden, Munich, London, Sydney, Ville Franche-Sur-Mer, Nice, Brussels, and Monte Carlo. She has studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts and the Webber Douglas Academy in London, as well as studying with voice masters in Bavaria. She has worked as a singer and actress in both the United States and Europe.
Phillips has also worked as a journalist, writing about society and fashion for various publications including Washington Life, Quarante, and Washington Entertainment, among others. In fact, she worked as the editorial director for Washington Entertainment. Behind the Name SHAKESPEARE: Power, Lust, Scorn & Scandal trailer can be watched on YouTube here.
“How did this film come about? Since 1983 I’ve been writing, producing and starring in critically-acclaimed two-person plays (and musical stage productions) in the Washington, D.C. area.
“My specialty was educating and entertaining my audiences at the same time. People would say, “What fun!” and “Wow, I didn’t know that!” in the same breath. Melding research and entertainment has been my specialty.
“I used the same skills in creating this film. In 2016, I was captivated by Roland Emmerich’s eye-opening film, Anonymous. Its driving assertion? The ‘Man from Stratford’ was not the true author of the works of Shakespeare. What?!? This new idea was gripping. I was determined to discover the truth, so I did extensive research and wrote an entertaining stage show.
“And so, after four months I had answered my own most burning questions and, in an intimate 65-seat theatre here in D.C., I gave two performances of a fun and lively “Shakespeare” stage show, with props, costumes and visuals. In the audience were members of the Shakespeare Group from the revered Cosmos Club. They called it, “Scholarship brushed with humor.” To that I added, “and costumes and sex”.
“It was so successful that I was asked to take it to the Shakespeare Oxford Fellowship Conference in Chicago. Too complicated. A logistical nightmare. So, I filmed it instead and took the next four years of research and writing and more filming – quick study! – to transform that stage show into my first film, a 99-minute documentary, Behind the Name SHAKESPEARE; Power, Lust, Scorn & Scandal.”