Shakespeare’s Sonnet 30. FOURTEEN lines, ONE Portugese writer-actor, TEN volunteer reciters.
BY HEART by writer-actor Tiago Rodrigues, Dublin Theatre Festival 2015
Our first play at the Dublin Theatre Festival 2015. Writer-Actor TIAGO RODRIGUES taught ten volunteers to memorize and recite Shakespeare’s Sonnet 30 while he recalled stories about his grandmother interspersed with tales about Boris Pasternak, a cook from northern Portugal and a Dutch television show. Slowly we came to understand why this poem was chosen and the power of memorizing works that we love. Nobody can ever take away what is inside us.
BY HEART was performed at the historic Smock Alley Theatre built in 1662. “It’s about theatre as a safe house for forbidden texts – a guarantee of civilisation and resistance even in the most barbaric and desolate times” It was a captivating performance about the triumph of word lovers over those who would try to silence them.
I was one of the ten who volunteered to learn the sonnet. Fascinated by the premise of Tiago’s performance, I siezed the opportunity to learn by doing. He was masterful in how he brought us back time and again through repetition of 2 to 4 lines collectively, and then 10 individual lines. A sensitive and humorous teacher, he punctuated our recitations with stories and quotes. We gained unique insight in how he memorizes.
And his infectious love of poetry and writers discussing the power of words. One story involved someone teaching people to memorize a poem who then each taught ten others and so on. The poem lived in a way that it never could in print. Even if books are burned, even if a sunspot destroys the internet, even if libraries fade into memory, we can still be called upon to re-member these books and sonnets and treatises through taking the time to learn and speak them.
It was a profound experience both to watch him work and also try to remember my lines. He was such a masterful story teller that I would drift into his words and panic that I had forgotten my solo line: and moan the expense of many a vanisht sight – but the words came back.
At the end of the performance I wept.
If you want to watch a utube trailer in Portugese here is how to search: BY HEART – Tiago Rodrigues / Mundo Perfeito – TRAILER