Play Sonnet 116
Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O, no! it is an ever-fixed mark,
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.
Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle’s compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.
Sonnet 116 explores the purity in a perfect love-match of wits and personalities.
Will believes there is no reason why two true minded people shouldn’t marry. Love doesn’t change with circumstances, instead it holds strong in the face of storms unshaken. It is a beacon, a guiding star to lost ships, invaluable but pinpointable. It is not a victim of Time, as Beauty always is. Love endures hours and weeks, until the last day of life. Will then says that if he is wrong, he recants his statement, and states that no man has ever truly loved.
“The marriage of true minds” suggests a union that is non-physical, Platonic and idealistic. Not one of the saucier sonnets.
“An ever-fixed mark” is a prominent oceanic navigational feature,. In the days before lighthouses, mariners used well known and prominent features on the land as a guide to fix their position at sea. The spires of coastal churches, towers, outcrops of rock of a particular shape or color, et cetera/ Beacons were no doubt also lit at the entrances to major ports, but there was no widespread network of lighthouses. The metaphor here is that the ever-fixed mark is permanent and unshakeable, always there as a guide to a lover.
Continuing with navigational metaphors, “to take the height of” something is to pinpoint an objects position to the horizon. A true love can help you navigate life.
The reaper of Time returns from the Procreation Sonnets. Here, instead of preserving your Beauty with a child, you can preserve it in memory of a great love.
Sonnet 116 is one of Shakespeare’s most famous love sonnets, but some scholars have argued the theme has been misunderstood. Hilton Landry believes the appreciation of 116 as a celebration of true love is mistaken, in part because its context in the sequence of adjacent sonnets is not properly considered. Landry acknowledges the sonnet “has the grandeur of generality or a “universal significance,” but cautions that “however timeless and universal its implications may be, we must never forget that Sonnet 116 has a restricted or particular range of meaning simply because it does not stand alone.” Carol Thomas Neely writes that, “Sonnet 116 is part of a sequence which is separate from all the other sonnets of Shakespeare because of their sense of detachment. They aren’t about the action of love and the object of that love is removed in this sequence which consists of Sonnets 94, 116, and 129” This group of three sonnets doesn’t fit the mold of the rest of Shakespeare’s sonnets, therefore. They defy the typical concept and give a different perspective of what love is and how it is portrayed or experienced. “Though 116 resolves no issues, the poet in this part of the sequence acknowledges and accepts the fallibility of his love more fully than he could acknowledge that of the young man’s earlier”  Other critics of Sonnet 116 have argued that one cannot rely on the context of the sonnet to understand its tone. They argue “there is no indisputably authoritative sequence to them, we cannot make use of context as positive evidence for one kind of tone or another.” Shakespeare doesn’t attempt to come to any significant conclusion within this particular sonnet because no resolution is needed.
1. Hilton Landry, The Marriage of True Minds: Truth and Error in Sonnet 116, Shakespeare Studies, 3 (1967) p.98 -110
2. Neely, Carol Thomas. PMLA, Vol. 92, No. 1. (pp. 83-95). Modern Language Association: Jan., 1977.
3. Garry Murphy, Shakespeare’s Sonnet 116, explicator, 39:1 (1980:Fall) p.39 – 41
Brooklyn Heights Promenade, Brooklyn
“The Brooklyn Heights Promenade will take your breath away. Made famous by cameo appearances in movies like Annie Hall and Moonstruck, it is one of the most romantic spots in New York City, and has been the destination for thousands of first dates, wedding proposals and anniversary celebrations. One-third of a mile long, it offers a vista of the Statue of Liberty, the Manhattan skyline and the majestic Brooklyn Bridge. Lined with flower beds, trees, benches and playgrounds, the promenade is a favorite destination for tourists, joggers, strollers, families and lovers.
Looking out on the East River, the promenade is bordered by grand townhouses and mansions, and is part of Brooklyn’s first Historic Preservation District. The adjacent neighborhood of charming brownstone homes and quiet streets is well worth investigating. Brooklyn Heights encapsulates the history of New York and America. The Dutch first appeared in 1645, forming the settlement of “Breuckelen” near the site of today’s Borough Hall. The bluffs of Brooklyn Heights were already a popular location in the 18th century when many of Manhattan’s early merchants built mansions there overlooking the city on the island below. It was from Brooklyn Heights that George Washington watched the Battle of Brooklyn unfold into a terrible defeat for the young Colonial Army. Under the cover of darkness on August 29th, Washington’s army crossed the East River from Fulton Ferry, below where the Brooklyn Bridge rises today, leaving Brooklyn to the British. Learn more about New York’s colonial past.
During the 1800’s, New York and Brooklyn boomed and many of New York’s wealthiest investors settled in Brooklyn Heights. In 1807, Robert Fulton captained his steamboat, The Clermont, from Brooklyn on its maiden voyage up the Hudson River. In 1814, Fulton gained a franchise to operate ferry service via steamboat from Brooklyn to Manhattan. As the population exploded, Brooklyn became a city in 1833, and throughout much of the 1800s was the third most populous city in America.
In the mid-1940s Robert Moses wanted to construct a new expressway right through the heart of Brooklyn Heights. He was stopped by the outcry of the Brooklyn Heights Association, and a solution emerged to build a two-tiered highway above the waterfront. The Promenade was constructed in part to insulate the neighborhood from the noise of the Brooklyn Queens Expressway. It opened to the public in October 1950 and has been a magnet for local residents and visitors alike for over half a century.” 
ACTOR – Virginia Donohoe
Virginia is thrilled to be involved in the Sonnet Project and all things NYSX, having previously appeared in their production of Island and one wonderfully raucous ShakesBEER pub crawl. Favorite roles include: Viola in Twelfth Night, Phebe in As You Like It, Louise in The Underpants, Sorel Bliss in Hay Fever. She earned her MFA from Case Western Reserve University/Cleveland Playhouse. Virginia lives in Los Angeles with her husband Rich and two crazy kids. They are nice and she likes them.
DIRECTOR – Jesse Gebryel
Jesse Gebryel is a screenwriter, director, and sunset chaser living in Sunnyside, NY. When he’s not traveling the world at lightning speed producing video for IBM, he uses his spare time to write and direct films.
PRODUCER – James Arden
James Arden has worked in front of the camera for 15+ years with HBO,NBC,WB, BBC and FOX. He’s taking time to work on the other side and is proud to participate in the Sonnet project.