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The Boston Globe

Theater & art

Shakespeare’s marriage is at center of ‘The Last Will’

William Shakespeare’s final years were even more puzzling and obscure than the rest of his life. Why did he retire from the stage in 1612, when he was just 48, and leave London for Stratford? How did his wife, Anne, receive him when he returned home? And then there’s his last will and testament. Why did he leave most of his property to elder daughter Susanna? Why did younger daughter Judith receive so little? Why did Anne inherit, infamously, her husband’s “second best bed”? And why is his signature on the will such a scrawl? All that and more is addressed in Robert Brustein’s new play “The Last Will,” which Suffolk University and Commonwealth Shakespeare Company are staging in a world-premiere production at the Modern Theatre.

CSC, best known for its summer productions of Shakespeare on Boston Common, is making its indoor debut with “The Last Will,” which is the final installment of Brustein’s Shakespeare trilogy, following “The English Channel” (the Bard’s affair with the Dark Lady of the sonnets) and “Mortal Terror” (King James I, “Macbeth,” and the Gunpowder Plot).

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