Shakespeare in Quarantine
I often turn to poetry when my soul is troubled, especially older, metered poetry. The rhythm soothes me while the language pulls me out of my here and now and transports me to another time and place. This time, it’s Shakespeare seeing me through the quarantine.
Shakespeare’s birthday, April 23, is also the day that my husband and I had our first date, on which we watched a movie production of one of the Bard’s plays, 10 Things I Hate About You. We’ve made a tradition of celebrating our anniversary with a Shakespearean performance every year since as near to the day as we can manage, live when possible, recorded when not.
So, it seems apropos that it is Shakespeare in a thoroughly modern context that is pulling me through right now. Each day, I wait for Patrick Stewart to upload his daily sonnet video to social media and I find a quiet space to sit and listen alone, just me and Sir Patrick and the day’s verse. As I write this, he’s been recording a sonnet a day for nearly two months.
He began with Sonnet 116 “Let me not to the marriage of true minds/Admit impediments” which of course, I already loved. I fell in love with it when I first read it as an undergrad, and again when Kate Winslet’s Marianne of Sense and Sensibility quoted it breathlessly, and yet again when Sir Patrick Stewart read it to his wife who held a phone to record the moment for us.
Words written more than four hundred years ago are performed for me by a spaceship captain in the privacy of my own home. What a gift!
What art is seeing you through quarantine? I'd love to hear about it in the comments!