More relative than this—the play's the thing…

It’s no secret that I love Shakespeare – to read, to watch, to ponder. You can take the girl out of college, but you can’t take the English major out of the girl.

But once upon a time (exactly 29 years ago, now that I think about it), in a land not so far away (actually about a mile from where I am at the moment), I had opportunity to give the words of the Bard some life on stage. Might not be a big deal to some, but as a wide-eyed high school sophomore who was a drama queen in every sense of the phrase, this was huge.

We were having a mini-Shakespeare festival, co-produced by the English and Drama Department (note that I use the term Drama “Department” loosely, since it basically consisted of one staff member who directed the spring musical and any one-off dramatic activities – no classes or anything formal… one of my great regrets about my high school). Each English class was studying a Shakespearean play at the time and the Festival was a tie-in event, featuring scenes from each of the plays being read.

Being low-woman on the greasepaint totem pole (after all, I was a mere sophomore), I didn’t have a huge part… played the delightfully named Mistress Quickly in a scene from Henry IV, Pt. One involving Prince Hal and that rascal Falstaff. The cast all wore t-shirts with a picture of Will S. on the front and our character name on the back. Yeah, I got a lot of wear out of my Mistress Quickly shirt after the performance. rolls eyes

However, the real highlight for me was getting to recite and interpret a sonnet… Number CXVI. Still remember every word to this day. As I studied the words and rehearsed their delivery, something inside me germinated – and my love and affection for the nuances of literature was born. Kinda cool to think about this now, as I sit in a room overflowing with books and books about books.

Sonnet CXVI is a perfect work to celebrate and share on this Valentine’s Eve… and I’ll have you know that save for the accent mark on “fixed” and a check to see where the verse are supposed to break (I may be passionate, but I am admittedly lazy. Counting out iambic pentameter this afternoon didn’t thrill me…) this bad boy was typed from memory.

Let me not to the marriage of true minds 

Admit impediments; love is not lo

Which alters when it alteration finds,

Or bends with the remover to remove:

O, no, it is an ever-fixèd mark,

That looks on tempests and is never shaken;

It is the star to every wand'ring bark,

Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.

Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks

Within his bending sickle's compass come;

Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,

But bears it out even to the edge of doom.

If this be error and upon me proved,

I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

And don’t worry – this is just here for sheer enjoyment. No essay on your interpretation is required… 


PQ said...

I wanted to be a drama queen...but I was far too self-conscious in high school...Looking back now, that's one of my regrets.

Love the sonnet...

and you.


TopSurf said...

I love Shakespeare. Loved studying his works in school and still love to read his works to this day. Who was it that said about this sonnet.... "Time triumphs over flesh, and Love over all." I can't remember. My English teacher would not be happy but I remember it was said. I am not surprised that you reciting this sonnet is part of your past. I just know you did Shakespeare proud!