Play Sonnet 103

Alack! what poverty my Muse brings forth,
That having such a scope to show her pride,
The argument all bare is of more worth
Than when it hath my added praise beside!
O! blame me not, if I no more can write!
Look in your glass, and there appears a face
That over-goes my blunt invention quite,
Dulling my lines, and doing me disgrace.
Were it not sinful then, striving to mend,
To mar the subject that before was well?
For to no other pass my verses tend
Than of your graces and your gifts to tell;
     And more, much more, than in my verse can sit,
     Your own glass shows you when you look in it.



In Sonnet 103, the poet’s feeble lines cannot do justice to his beloved’s beauty, but merely mar it with their own inadequacy.

Billy laments being a poor poet, since even with so great a subject to write about, they are worth more by themselves than with hi praise added. It’s not his fault he can’t write anymore! In his lover’s mirror is reflected a face that quite overwhelms his limited poetic skills, resulting in clumsy lines, and his disgrace. It would be a sin, if in trying to improve his poetry, he sullied his subject, which was perfectly lovely without him? He focuses on their charms and wonderful qualities, which could be viewed better in a mirror than I can possibly be said in poetry.


Will’s Wordplay

“Glass” occurs ten times in the Sonnets. Apart from Sonnet 5, where it means the substance glass, “mirror” is its usual meaning. In 126 it probably also means “hourglass”.

The “more” that Billy sees may not be to his liking. The closing couplet is perhaps double edged in that the “more, much more” which the mirror shows is the encroachment of lines and wrinkles. Sonnet 104 pretends to deny this perception, saying it is unworthy of notice.


Algonquin Hotel, Manhattan

A legendary space haunted by the creators and patrons of the mid 20th century New York arts scene, and birthplace of a familiar magazine. The Algonquin Hotel is a historic hotel located at 59 West 44th Street in Manhattan. The hotel has been designated a New York City Historic Landmark.

The 181-room hotel, opened in 1902, was designed by architect Goldwin Starrett. It was originally conceived as a residential hotel but was quickly converted to a traditional lodging establishment. Its first owner-manager, Frank Case (who bought the hotel in 1927), established many of the hotel’s traditions. Perhaps its best-known tradition is hosting literary and theatrical notables, most prominently the members of the Algonquin Round Table


The Round Table

The Algonquin Round Table – a group of notorious literary figures (mostly critics) who made The Algonquin their daily meeting place – set forth to implement significant literary styles in the early 1900s.

In June 1919 a group of writers met in the Pergola Room for a party. The hotel became the site of the daily lunch meetings of a group of journalists, authors, publicists and actors who gathered to exchange bon mots over lunch in the main dining room [1]. The group met almost daily for the better part of ten years.

At the end of World War I, Vanity Fair writers and Algonquin regulars Dorothy Parker, Robert Benchley, and Robert E. Sherwood started meeting for lunch at The Algonquin. Alexander Woollcott, acerbic critic and war correspondent, received a warm welcome from literary friends in 1919. That same request prompted a daily exchange of ideas and opinions shared between highly esteemed literary figures. George S. Kaufman, Heywood Broun, and Edna Ferber were also a part of this August assembly; these individuals influenced writers like F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway. They founded The New Yorker magazine; all hotel guests receive free copies to this day.

Frank Case, owner of the hotel, ensured a daily luncheon for the talented group of young writers by treating them to free celery and popovers; more importantly, they were provided with their own table and waiter. Edna Ferber, Franklin P. Adams, George S. Kaufman, Heywood Broun, and Marc Connelly eventually joined the group, expanding its membership. All members were affiliated with the Algonquin Round Table, although they referred to themselves as the “Vicious Circle”.

Presently, The Round Table restaurant is one of the most favored dining spots in New York City. Visitors often request to dine at the actual “round table” where members originally met for decades. Artistic and creative minds alike still meet to this day to discuss thoughts and ideas just as the Vicious Circle once did.


The Algonquin Cat

There is always a cat at the Algonquin! The first feline resident was named Billy (I wonder after whom!) who prowled its halls beginning in 1923, and stayed for 15 years. Two days after Billy’s death, a stray cat wandered in, and Frank Case adopted him, initially naming him “Rusty.” Hotel lore says Shakespearean John Barrymore suggested the cat needed a more “dignified” name, so the cat was renamed “Hamlet.” Nowadays, whenever the hotel has a male cat, he’s named Hamlet; but if the hotel has a female cat, she’s named “Matilda. Currently, they host a leading lady named Matilda. Three Matildas, Billy, and 7 Hamlets have walked the inn’s boards. [2]

Visitors can spot Matilda on her personal chaise lounge in the lobby, behind the computer on the front desk, or lounging on a baggage cart. The doormen feed her and the general manager’s executive assistant answers Matilda’s e-mail. She has her own email address and can be found on Instagram, twitter and facebook. Matilda has fans from all over the world and receives mail from as far as Russia, Japan and Austrailia. Every summer Matilda hosts an annual fundraiser reception and cat fashion show that benefits the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals.


The Blue Bar

in 1933, when prohibition ended Frank Case reopened the hotel bar. Persuasive as ever, John Barrymore suggested placing blue gels over the lights, “as one looks more attractive under such lighting”. The lighting and names stuck, the lights remain blue in the bar to this day. [3]


The John Barrymore Suite

All 25 suites in the hotel are named after legendary guests and patrons. The premier suite is named for the roguish and influential hotel visitor John Barrymore.

“Like its namesake, the John Barrymore Suites captures a flair for the dramatic, with a neutral beige color palette, modern Edwardian-styled furnishings and one of the most captivating street views among NYC luxurious hotels. Located on the second floor with a grand view of 44th Street for optimal people-watching, this loft-like bi-level suite features a sunken living area, separate bedroom and an oversized, luxurious bathroom.”[4]



1. Fitzpatrick, Kevin C. “History of the Round Table”. Archived from the original on September 28, 2007. Retrieved September 3, 2007.


ACTOR – Mac Brydon

Mac Brydon is a California expat residing in Greenwich Village with two four-legged Warhol ladies – Edie + Nico. Closing a show to many sold out houses at 59E59 Theaters these past three weeks of AUG 2015: Pimm’s Mission (playing lead role of Robert Pimm) by Christopher Stetson Boal and directed by Terrence O’Brien. Some past favs have been with the York Shakespeare Company, Resonance Ensemble, Boomerang Theatre Co, Metropolitan Playhouse, NY Stage + Film, Hudson Valley Shakespeare, TheatreVirginia, Oberon Theatre Ensemble and The San Diego Opera. Founder of The Lafayette Salon Series (est. 2009) that performs monthly at The Players Club in Gramercy. TV: Lipstick Jungle. Film: Stuck, Michelle Botticell, dir.; Mac’s First Time, Johnny O’Hara, dir.; The Family Fang, Jason Bateman, dir. Studied with acting coach, Harold Guskin for 10 years. Training: The Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama + The Aleksander Zelwerowicz Theatre Academy.


FEATURING – Jane Cortney

Jane Cortney’s NYC theatre credits include On the Other Side of the River (New Worlds Theatre Project), The Woodsman (Oberon Theatre Ensemble), R.U.R. (Resonance Ensemble), Summer and Smoke (Boomerang Theatre Company). Regional credits include Little Women (Northern Stage), The Comfort of Darkness (Caldwell Theatre), Hay Fever (Hampton Theatre Company). Jane can be seen in the short film Stuck, recently featured at the NY Shorts Fest. Co-founder: The Lafayette Salon Series, a monthly reading series that meets at the Players Club. BA: Vassar College. MFA: Actors Studio Drama School/ New School for Drama. AEA/ SAG-AFTRA member.


DIRECTOR – Jonah Salander

Jonah Salander attended the New York Film Academy in Los Angeles in 2003. Salander is a film director and has directed three shorts, all film festival screened around the world from Boston, Los Angeles, Melbourne, Portland, and Stratford Upon Avon. He has also helmed a feature film, music video, and web series.

Salander, a 4th generation artist from both sides, grew up constantly engaged in conversations about art. As luck would have it, many close family friends were artist in different mediums, and have continued to be a great creative resource for me.

Upcoming projects include, a script about a young man’s bout with terminal thyroid cancer, chronicling the day he chooses to make the most of the time he has left.
As well, a follow up to “The Price You Pay” a 48-hour film that earned Salander a best director award at the 48 Hour Film Project – New Haven Connecticut.