Swansong

Nominated by The American Theatre Critics Association as Best New Play

Swansong by Patrick PageSwansong is the remarkable story of the friendship between Ben Jonson and William Shakespeare. The play begins in 1623. Shakespeare has been dead seven years, Jonson is Poet Laureate of Englad, and the unchallenged master of English stage. Shakespeare’s plays are no longer performed, and he is nearlky forgotten by the public. Fortunately, he is not forgotten by John Heminges. John is determined to have Will’s plays published in Folio and preserved for all time. Heminges has convinced King James to allow the Folio, but the King’s condition is that Johnson write a prefatory poem for the book, setting his seal of approval on Will’s work.

Ben violently resists the assignment, wrestling with deep feelings of guilt and envy, and secretly fearful that if Will’s plays are published his own place in history may fade or vanish entirely. As he struggles to write the poem of praise for Will, he is flooded with memories of their lifelong love and tumultuous friendship. Swansong is a romantic and pastoral tale, mingling fact, speculation and fantasy. Rooted in true events, it is a story of love, loss and regeneration that allows the audience to imagine one of the most extraordinary friendships of all time.

Swansong, by Patrick Page, has been nominated as Best New Play by the American Theatre Critics Association, and selected from over 1200 applicants to be performed at The New York Summer Play Festival at Theatre Row.


Production History

Swansong was first presented at the Lucille Lortell White Barn Theatre in Westport, Connecticut, Vincent Cucio, producer. The production was directed by Burry Fredrik. The cast was as follows:

Ben Jonson ………………… Sam Tsoutsouvas
John Heminges ……………………Tim Jerome
Will Shakespeare…………… Jack Wetherall

The play was subsequently presented Off-Broadway at the Lion Theatre at Theatre Row as part of the New York Summer Play Festival, Arielle Tepper, Producer. The production was directed by David Muse. The cast was as follows:

Ben Jonson ……………………… Andrew Long
John Heminges……………… Rick Foucheaux
Will Shakespeare…………… Tom Hammond

Swansong was then presented at The Kennedy Center in Washington, DC as the centerpiece of the annual Page To Stage Festival. The director was David Muse. The cast was:

Ben Jonson ……………………… Andrew Long
John Heminges…………..…… Larry Paulsen
Will Shakespeare…………… Tom Hammond

The play brings to mind Tom Stoppard…a piece of fiction that bespeaks a lively imagination and Page’s Shakespearean experience…Swansong reveals Page as a great fantasizer…exactly the kind of play the Westport Theatre should be trying out.

– Markland Taylor, Variety

One of the most exciting new plays to come around in a long time…the last time I was this excited about a play was when I first saw Wit at the Long Wharf-and that one went to a Pulitzer…we haven’t seen the last of this exceptionally fine play.

– Joanne Rochman, Curtain Call

A brilliantly written piece… a satisfying and impressive gift to patrons and the theatre at large. Mr. Page’s play deserves to move on to other venues. It immediately takes its place as part of the vast curriculum that good theatre offers to the minds of educated audiences.

– Tom Nissley, Fairfield County Online

Literate thought provoking…it is truly a pleasure to hear language used so well…Swansong is a tremendous effort…we look forward to it’s future.

– Rosalind Friedman, WMNR Fine Arts Radio

One of the top ten plays we read this year.

– Robert Menna, Ojai Playwrights Conference

SWANSONG Off-Broadway at the Lion Theatre at Theatre Row as part of the New York Summer Play Festival