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The ROSE Theatre, London

This recording at the Rose Theatre, London on Southwark’s Bankside, shows the spectacular access we had to this spot where Shakespeare himself very likely trod the boards.

My thanks are to Tony Toller and the Rose Trust for allowing this unprecedented gift of being able to recite for a second time all of Shakespeare’s sonnets on his 441st birthday.

This sonnet is a perennial favourite with actors. And the final couplet a masterpiece of words mirroring actions. Plus a fantastic example of the wit and truth he brings to these sonnets.

Q23
AS an unperfect actor on the stage,
Who with his fear is put besides his part,
Or some fierce thing replete with too much rage,
Whose strength’s abundance weakens his own heart;
So I for fear of trust, forget to say,
The perfect ceremony of love’s right,
And in mine own love’s strength seem to decay,
O’ercharg’d with burthen of mine own love’s might:
O let my books be then the eloquence,
And dumb presagers of my speaking breast,
Who plead for love, and look for recompense,
More than that tongue that more hath more express’d.
O learn to read what silent love hath writ,
To hear with eyes belongs to love’s fine wit.

The sense of the ROSE Theatre’s history is hard to grasp when you know there is an office block on top of your head.
ROSE THEATRESONNET23WS
See the pretty candles that Ben is lighting at the back?

But step outside and you can smell the Thames river and the sense of history is more palpable, knowing that under the viaduct to your left the remains of the original Globe Theatre lie and off to your right the Sam Wanamaker Globe project (education centre next door and theatre on the Bankside) are piling in the audiences, as if it were Elizabethan London. The original Globe theatre being made of the shell of the THEATRE in Shoreditch another project presently being excavated and preserved.

Academia has caught up with lovers of the Early Modern period and worthy projects like SHALT or SHakespearean London Theatres and MoEML or Maps of Early Modern London.

The ROSE Theatre’s history is connected to another direct link with Early Modern Theatre history, namely Philip Henslowe. Henslowe kept a diary and that too is digitised and another project for academics eager to pad out our knowledge of the period.

A list in Henslowe's handwriting

A list in Henslowe’s handwriting

Kings College have produced a facsimile of the Braun and Hogenburg’s map of London from 1572. There are markers on it which lead you to interesting articles. But it is worth noting that the THEATRE in Shoreditch was the first purpose built public theatre in London in 1576. And that was set up by James Burbage, father of Richard the actor whom our Will wrote brilliant characters he could play.

This public theatre is the key to understanding Shakespeare’s position in the Early Modern Theatre world. Veni, vidi, vici!

But what are these?
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The excitement mounts and the anticipation is for the next post. i love Shakespeare is going to Sweden.

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