CHICAGO -- Shakespeare might have had a hand in The Second Maiden's Play, a 17th-century potboiler that on April 6 receives its second American professional production from Next Theatre Company. (Its first production was at Palm Beach Shakespeare of FL.)
In a 1994 treatise, the late scholar Charles Hamilton argued that the play is really Cardenio (as Next calls it), a tragedy that was performed before the court of King James and co-authored by Shakespeare and John Fletcher.
Whatever its provenance, according to director Kate Buckley, "We chose to present it because we find it fascinating and entertaining." Cardenio includes such Jacobean staples as suicide, lust, revenge and tested fidelity: A deposed king tries to protect his betrothed from the lustful advances of the tyrant who usurped his throne.
Chicago favorite Steve Pickering plays the evil tyrant.
For information call (847) 475-6763. -- By Lawrence Bommer