Play Sonnet 76
Why is my verse so barren of new pride,
So far from variation or quick change?
Why with the time do I not glance aside
To new-found methods, and to compounds strange?
Why write I still all one, ever the same,
And keep invention in a noted weed,
That every word doth almost tell my name,
Showing their birth, and where they did proceed?
O! know sweet love I always write of you,
And you and love are still my argument;
So all my best is dressing old words new,
Spending again what is already spent:
For as the sun is daily new and old,
So is my love still telling what is told.
Sonnet 76 examines the issue of the poet’s obsession with the Youth as the repeated and sole theme of his poetry.
Shakespeare expresses frustration with his poetry; that it is repetitive and he can’t find inspiration. He ponders finding inspiration from other artists. He concludes justifying the endless, uninspired, repetition of his love poetry to the endless repetition to the rising and setting sun.
“Noted weed” is usually glossed to mean familiar clothing. The Norton Shakespeare annotates “and keep invention in a noted weed” thus: And keep literary creativity in such familiar clothing. This conforms with the Oxford English Dictionary’s definition of Weed, sb2: 1: an article of apparel; a garment, and is consistent with the theme of mending, re-using, etc. (“all my best is dressing old words new”).
Although no academics concur, it has been suggested that Shakespeare is referring to the influence of drugs in poetry creation., with the subject phrase “Noted weed” referring to the use of cannabis, which was common in England at the time. In this interpretation, “Compounds strange” is taken to be a reference to strange chemicals (i.e. drugs), instead of a use of inverted construction, a common poetical device common to Shakespeare. One could argue the poet is thinking he could use drugs to be inspired. He then states he decides not to use such inspiration. (The poet does not “glance aside”. Also, he decides to keep the inspirational in the “noted weed” rather than use it.)
The colloquialism “weed” not used in reference to the drug cannabis in the USA until the 1920s. However, the term could have been used as a reference to the commonplace plant, which was mass-produced for fiber.
Kettle of Fish
“The Kettle made its name as a hangout for aspiring bohemians not long after it opened on MacDougal Street above the famed Gaslight Café in 1950. Three moves and half a century later, the current cozy basement space, with its low ceilings, strings of lights, and a comfy-as-home collection of sofas and chairs still draws plenty of bookish types, but the location ensures a happy cross-section of straight football fans (the owner roots for the Packers), gay tourists (Kettle abuts Stonewall Inn), and students who could go either way—depending on how much Sixpoint ale they’ve downed. With most of the patrons wrapped up in lively intercourse, the jukebox tends to fall by the wayside, leaving the nearby cabaret to pick up the slack as show tunes bleed down from above. Surprisingly, even with the disproportionate representation of gray hair and writerly tweeds, the Ms. Pac-Man machine gets plenty of play.” — Mitchell Healey, New York Magazine 
ACTOR – Len Cariou
LEN CARIOU is a distinguished member of the Theatre Hall of Fame and a three-time Tony nominee, for Applause, A Little Night Music, and for his legendary performance as Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, (Tony award-winner, Best Actor). His other Broadway credits include Nightwatch, Cold Storage, Teddy & Alice, Dance a Little Closer, The Speed of Darkness, Neil Simon’s The Dinner Party, and Proof. Showing his range, he toured the U.S. as Cap’n Andy in Showboat, and as Nils Bohr in Copenhagen. He scored his most recent triumph in The Gate Theatre’s definitive, hit production of All My Sons, in Dublin, Ireland, reprising his role as Joe Keller, which he also won raves for at the Geffen Theatre in Los Angeles in 2007. In addition, he was recently lauded for his performance as Richard Nixon in Frost/Nixon at the Vancouver Playhouse and Canadian Stage. In 2008 he directed a production of Glengarry Glen Ross (Manitoba Theatre Centre) which sold out it’s mid-winter run despite outside temperatures of 40 below zero.
His classical stage repertoire is far ranging, encompassing the title roles in Oedipus the King, Macbeth, Cyrano, Coriolanus, and two productions of King Lear, as well as Iago, Petruchio, Prospero and many others. Off-Broadway, he is proud of his work as Ernest Hemingway in Papa, William O. Douglas in Mountain, and Joseph Stalin in Master Class. Regionally, he has starred in a multitude of productions at theatres throughout North America, including The Kennedy Centre, The Mark Taper Forum, The Manitoba Theatre Centre, The Stratford Shakespeare Festivals in both Ontario and Connecticut, The Guthrie Theatre, Long Wharf Theatre and The Old Globe. He is a former Artistic Director of the Manitoba Theatre Centre, and former Associate Director of the Guthrie Theatre.
Several feature films include the popular The Four Seasons, Executive Decision, Thirteen Days, and About Schmidt with Jack Nicholson, as well as Secret Window with Johnny Depp, Flags of Our Fathers, and 1408.He was awarded a Genie, Canada’s Oscar, for Best Actor in the film One Man.
On television, Mr. Cariou currently stars as Henry Reagan (Tom Selleck’s father) on the hit CBS series Blue Bloods. He spent two seasons as powerhouse political appointee Judd Fitzgerald in the Showtime series Brotherhood with Dublin’s own Fionnula Flanagan. He has guest starred on CSI:Las Vegas, The Practice, West Wing, Law & Order, The Outer Limits, Swift Justice, and Murder She Wrote, to name only a few. Myriad TV movies include Surviving, Man in the Attic, Who Will Save Our Children, There Were Times Dear (PBS), Miracle on Route 880, Killer in the Mirror, Hallmark Hall of Fame’s The Summer of Ben Tyler, Nuremberg (TNT) and as Franklin Roosevelt in HBO’s Into the Storm.
Mr. Cariou is known for his voice-over work in commercials, books-on-tape and film, especially on The Jonestown Flood which won an Academy Award, and as Harry Bosch in Michael Connolly’s well-known novels.
DIRECTOR – Kyle Beechey
Kyle Beechey is a Canadian born New York based filmmaker. She recently received her MA in Media Studies from the New School. Her interests lie primarily in experimental film and personal documentary. Her additional current projects include, August, a short documentary of a cross country Canadian road trip and tactile experiments in 16mm found footage. This is her first venture into Shakespearian text and working with a professional actor. She is thrilled that the Sonnet Project has allowed her to collaborate with the revered Len Cariou. To this point, her work has been focused on locations outside the New York area, leaving her eager to showcase a quintessential city institution, Kettle of Fish.
For further examples of her work please visit, kylebeechey.com