Thursday, Jan. 7, 2010

Birds, Shakespeare and Sonnets

Renaissance Theaterworks Stages Shakespeare’s Sonnets

By Russ Bickerstaff
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Bird enthusiasts and theatergoers probably have a lot more in common than I would care to analyze. That being said, I though t it was kind of interesting that birders painstakingly look after something called a “life list”—a list of species they’ve seen in the wild over the course of their lives. Kind of reminds me of a similar list I’m personally keeping track of—all the Shakespeare plays I’ve seen in production over the course of my life. The birder’s life list is limited by species they’ve seen in the wild. Just as a birder wouldn’t count species they’ve seen in captivity, I wouldn’t count Shakespeare that I’ve seen only onscreen or as a staged reading. As a result, I wouldn’t count Othello on my Shakespeare life list even though I saw a rather nice staged reading of it by Goats & Monkeys

I’ve seen staged readings of some of Shakespeare’s sonnets before (Local performance poet Timothy Kloss is hands down the best practitioner of spoken Shakespeare I’ve ever seen. He may not be the type of performer one would expect to find in a fully-staged production, but the guy is phenomenal with spoken word.) As good as the readings can be, one doesn’t exactly stage the sonnets as full production pieces.

In light of this, I thought it was interesting that Renaissance Theaterworks will be staging two performances of Love’s Fire on February 1st. (At 5:30pm and 8pm) It’s a show featuring staged adaptations of Shakespeare’s sonnets written by some of the most talented national playwrights working today including Eric Bogosian, Tony Kushner and Marsha Norman. Now, providing I can get the evening free, I’ll be able to include Shakespeare’s sonnets on my list as well . . .

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