A Contemporary Take on Shakespeare Sonnet 98
Back in February, Maggy Stacy and I were having coffee and decided to make a film together. Something short, experimental, to have fun and stretch our creative muscles. She said, "I have this Shakespeare sonnet I'm doing for John Moore's Denver Sonnets Project. Wanna check it out? Oh and I think we should do something unexpected, like shoot it in a nightclub."
Next thing you know, we were workshopping her performing the sonnet as if she were at a nightclub at Screen + Play, a lab for filmmakers & actors created for just such a purpose. We both immediately felt its potential to be a powerful exploration of heartbreak and longing as derived from Shakespeare's text:
When proud pied April, dressed in all his trim,
Hath put a spirit of youth in every thing,
That heavy Saturn laughed and leapt with him.
Yet nor the lays of birds, nor the sweet smell
Of different flowers in odor and in hue,
Could make me any summer’s story tell,
Or from their proud lap pluck them where they grew:
Nor did I wonder at the lily’s white,
Nor praise the deep vermilion in the rose;
They were but sweet, but figures of delight,
Drawn after you, you pattern of all those.
Yet seemed it winter still, and you away,
As with your shadow I with these did play.
Maggy and I created the story for Miranda (a nod to Shakespeare's character in The Tempest): it's winter still despite spring around her because she's missing her lover who is gone away, perhaps forever. She goes to a bar and in the course of the evening, thanks to the live music playing and a man she grooves with, she rediscovers her body, her sensuality, and a way forward.
From this idea, we attracted an amazing crew: 7 and Co Productions' Wesley Matheny and Thomas Jaeger (who also edited and shot the film respectively), Neil Lyons from Moon Magnet who got the extraordinary Syntax Physics Opera on board as the location and Sunboy, a group I'd fallen for at the Underground Music Showcase, as the band. Wes and Thomas suggested the charming Matt Block who rounded out our cast as the suitor.
Honestly, it was a charmed experience from start-to-finish and I am filled with deep gratitude to that all who were involved in bringing this story to life. Please enjoy our film here.