William Shakespeare's legendary status as the master of theatrical writing is no new development. Back in the late-eighteenth century, England still swooned for anything Shakespearean. And in 1795 one enterprising young man saw the Bard as the way out of his unhappy home and into the richer realms of stage and fame. William-Henry Ireland "found" certain documents that Shakespeare had "lost," but were fortuitously signed by the man himself -- even better, these papers were authenticated by many of the leading experts. Soon Ireland had turned up business records, love letters and the holy grail of Shakesperania: a lost play, Vortigern. London went crazy, academics were in a tizzy and Ireland was the talk of the town. The only impediment on Ireland's path was the truth -- he'd written all these things himself, and forged the signature. When Vortigern was staged it was discovered that as a playwright, Ireland was an excellent forger. Rick Creese's black comedy Solemn Mockeries tells the too-good-to-be-true story of Ireland, who on this night looks back on his youthful indiscretion from the safe distance of 30 years. Midnight Company presents Solemn Mockeries at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday (January 3 through 18) at Tower Grove Abbey (2336 Tennessee Avenue; 1-800-838-3006 or www.midnightcompany.com). Tickets are $15 to $20.
Fridays, Saturdays. Starts: Jan. 3. Continues through Jan. 18, 2014