For centuries scholars have debated his place of birth educational background and even his true name. Despite being a world-renowned playwright Shakespeare�s identity is a bit mysterious. Those who subscribe to the Marlovian Theory believe Shakespeare was not even a person at all; instead a pseudonym adopted by Christopher Marlowe an accomplished Elizabethan playwright and poet.
Christopher Marino artistic director of Wilmington�s Dram Tree Shakespeare Inc. is enthralled by the uncertainty of Shakespeare�s personal history.
�I think there was a man named Shakespeare. Whether he was born in Straftord or not he existed � Marino says.
Marino believes Shakespeare�s plays have caused controversy because they were found to be more collaborative than initially thought.
��Macbeth� was a collaboration with John Middleton � he explains. �There�s a lost play called �Cardenio� that was taken from �Don Quixote� that was a collaboration with John Fletcher.�
Marino�s fascination with the Bard led him to obtain two graduate degrees in dramatic arts and to start a Shakespearean theatre company.
�I was a founding member of a theatre company in DC called Taffety Punk. . . . We were a hybrid of classical musicians actors and dancers and we brought a young audience to the work � he says.
After accepting a theatre teaching position at the University of North Carolina Wilmington in 2013 Marino created a theatre company in Wilmington � Dram Tree Shakespeare Inc. The company�s first few performances were a series of readings in the Cameron Art Museum. In September 2014 as a part of Wilmington�s 275th anniversary celebration the troupe performed scenes from �Much Ado About Nothing � �The Taming of the Shrew � and �A Midsummer Night�s Dream� at Riverfront Park in downtown Wilmington.
Nick Basta a North Carolina School of the Arts alumnus played Petruchio in Dram Tree�s �Taming of the Shrew.�
�Chris has an understanding and a passion for Shakespeare like no one I�ve ever met � Basta says. �As a classically trained actor I desire to perform Shakespeare. . . . The play is really in the language � Shakespeare gives you everything you need.�
Now that Dram Tree has gained a local following Marino says its next production will be a formal performance.
�I want to start with comedies because they�re an easier sell for people who don�t normally go to Shakespeare plays � he says.
Auditions for the comedy will most likely take place in April Marino says and the show will hit the boards during the summer.
�We�ll have auditions but we�ll say to people �To work with us we want you to train with us.� I�ll be holding workshops throughout the summer. If actors want to work with us they need to embrace process.�
While Marino has high expectations for both himself and his actors he wants Dram Tree productions to be accessible to everyone.
�The price of theatre shouldn�t be a barrier � he says.