A lot of Britain’s greatest stage legends have gone to ground during the present coronavirus pandemic: what would make this shitshow even worse would be Covid-19 claiming any of our great knights and dames, many of whom are clearly in the more vulnerable demographic. Dame Judi Dench has published a couple of funny videos, apparently from self-isolation with her daughter, while prolific tweeter Sir Ian McKellen has been plugging away on the ol’ retweets. But it’s his BFF Sir Patrick Stewart who may emerge as top dog theatre legend from all of this. Furloughed from ‘Picard’ and whatnot, yesterday the seasoned Shakespearian did a self-broadcast reading of Shakespeare’s ‘Sonnet 116’ (‘Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks, but bears it out even to the edge of doom’).
Perhaps not unexpectedly, it went down pretty well, so Stewart – no stranger to an apocalyptic scenario, albeit usually a fictional one – has decided that he’ll post a sonnet a day until this nightmare is over – he followed up today by going back to the start and posting his reading of ‘Sonnet 1’.
There are 154 sonnets, which would allow for approximately five months of self-isolation – which is in fact depressingly in line with many approximate estimates of how long all of ‘this business’ will last. Hopefully he’ll have to finish the series ‘on the other side’.
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