LENOX -- Shakespeare & Company kicks off Its 37th season this weekend with "Shakespeare's Will" by Vern Thiessen, directed by Daniela Varon and featuring Kristin Wold as William Shakespeare's wife, Anne Hathaway.

Previews begin 7:30 p.m. Friday in the Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre, where the one-actress drama is scheduled to run through Aug. 24.

Press opening is 7:30 p.m. May 31.

Award-winning Canadian playwright Vern Thiessen sets the play in 1616 in Stratford-upon-Avon, drawing inspiration from historical facts and from Shakespeare's last will and testament. However, the play is not a biography.

"In this piece," Varon says in a news release, "Vern Thiessen does what playwrights do: he gives Anne his own words and, in so doing, he gives her a voice."

Wold is marking her 25th season with Shakespeare & Company where she has appeared in "King Lear," "Sea Marks," "Othello," "The Tempest," "Measure For Measure," "Ice Glen" and "Berkeley Square," among other productions. This summer, she also will also play Portia/Ensemble in "Julius Caesar." Wold has directed productions at Connecticut Rep, where she teaches acting and movement, and at Mixed Company.

Varon is beginning her 19th season with Shakespeare & Company, where her credits include "Romeo and Juliet," "Sea Marks," "Martha Mitchell Calling," "The Taming of the Shrew," "Much Ado About Nothing," "Love Letters," "Collected Stories," "The Winter's Tale," "Wit," "A Room of One's Own" and "Turn of the Screw.


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In New York, she has directed at Abingdon Theatre, Culture Project, EST, HERE, Joe's Pub, Lincoln Center Theater Directors' Lab, Mud/Bone, the Public, 78th Street Theatre Lab, Shakespeare Society, Symphony Space, and Vineyard Theatre.

Varon's regional theater credits include productions at Boston Playwrights' Theatre, Connecticut Repertory, L.A. Women's Shakespeare, Poets' Theatre, Sun Valley Shakespeare, Tygre's Heart Shakespeare, Vineyard Playhouse, and Wharton Salon.

Thiessen's plays have been produced at the Stratford Festival, Off-Broadway, and regionally throughout North America and Europe. His awards include the Governor General's Literary Award, Canada's highest honor for playwriting.

Ticket information is available online at shakespeare.org; by telephone at (413) 637-3353; or in person at the Shakespeare & Company box office at 70 Kemble St.