Shakespeare’s sonnets were never intended as a theatrical work, a set of poems that extend the Bard’s legendary repertoire beyond a cache of plays that already constitutes a sizable portion of the western theatrical canon. But that doesn’t seem to have stopped Robert Wilson, who has revived Shakespeare’s Iambic Pentameter for his production currently showing at Brooklyn Academy of Music.
Originally staged in Berlin in 2009, Wilson’s production of Sonnets takes reputation and influence of the English writer’s original material, and applies it with a decidedly post-modern bent. Rather than relying on concrete narrative or a cohesive theme, Wilson has culled together a disjointed series of pieces, scored by songwriter Rufus Wainwright and performed by Bertolt Brecht’s Berliner Ensemble. Turning Wilson’s signature style back in on Shakespeare’s sonnets, the production is at turns surreal, confusing and comic, all backdropped by an ever-shifting score.
The show’s concept is an interesting one, running from one of end modern Western theatre to the other, and examining the spaces for fluidity and change in the execution of theatre as charted out by a modern master and one of history’s most highly regarded playwrights. Sonnets runs through October 12th.
— B. Thorsten
“Sonnets” [Brooklyn Academy of Music]