The Caltech Playreaders
2020-2021: The 70th Season
All of our readings will be held at 7:30 pm
More information about this event will be posted at a later date and its exact format will be subject to the ongoing COVID-19 situtation. The plays performed on each date are subject to change, please check back here for more information as each performance date approaches.
On June 23, 1592, London theatres were closed due to the plague and the possibility of civil unrest. They were not reopened until June of 1594. Shakespeare, unable to pursue his emerging career as an actor and playwright, turned to literary art, publishing two dramatic poems, Venus and Adonis in 1593, and Lucrece in 1594, which brought him fortune and fame as a poet. Scholars think that the writing of Shakespeare's sonnets was also begun during these plague years. The sonnets were first circulated among his private friends and not published in full until 1609, well after Shakepeare's fame as a dramatist had surpassed his initial fame as a poet. For centuries these breath-taking sonnets have been the subject of scholarly scrutiny and attempts to mine clues to the poet's own life and loves. With their glorious language, dazzling imagery, and profound meditations on love, art, time, and immortality, his "sugared sonnets" still remain tantalizingly elusive in their meanings.
And so we come full circle, in the midst of our own plague year and civil unrest, to find solace and delight in sonnets begun during plague years over 400 years ago. The Caltech Playreaders will present a varied assortment of Shakespeare's sonnets as interpreted for today's world. The Zoom presentation will be broken up into two halves, with a brief prerecorded discussion after each half. There will be a follow along program with the text of all sonnets available at production time on this website.