Play Sonnet 55

9-11 2 9-11 1

Not marble, nor the gilded monuments
Of princes, shall outlive this powerful rhyme;
But you shall shine more bright in these contents
Than unswept stone, besmear’d with sluttish time.
When wasteful war shall statues overturn,
And broils root out the work of masonry,
Nor Mars his sword, nor war’s quick fire shall burn
The living record of your memory.
‘Gainst death, and all oblivious enmity
Shall you pace forth; your praise shall still find room
Even in the eyes of all posterity
That wear this world out to the ending doom.
     So, till the judgment that yourself arise,
     You live in this, and dwell in lovers’ eyes.
Sonnet 55 promises the beloved that absolutely nothing time or man can do will impede his immortality in verse and the hearts of those who remember.

Shakespeare makes some very big promises here. His words will outlive stone monuments, the young man flattered more than by statues that can be harmed by time and war. No war or fire can eradicate a memento that lives on; thus he will live past death, still a subject of admiration until the end of all time. To live in words and in those who love him is the strongest form of immortality.
Will’s Wordplay
“upswept stone” is stone left uncared for.Those in cathedrals and churches would generally be kept clean and polished. But older monuments in churchyards gradually would be forgotten and fall to ruin, as the living memory of its builders and inhabitants died out.
“sluttish” was used in Shakespeare’s time to refer to both men and women of questionable morals or slovenly habits, and here it refers to time’s tendency toward chaos and disorder.
“living record” being more immortal than monuments means that you live as long as someone who loves you lives.
Scholar’s Corner
Ernest Fontana focuses on the epithet “sluttish time.” The Oxford English Dictionary gives “sluttish” two definitions: 1) dirty, careless, slovenly (which can refer to objects and persons of both sexes) and 2) lewd, morally loose, and whorish. According to Fontana, Shakespeare intended the second meaning, personifying and assigning gender to time, making the difference between the young man sonnets and the dark lady sonnets all the more obvious. Shakespeare had used the word “slut” nearly a year before he wrote sonnet 55 when he wrote Timon of Athens. In the play, Timon associates the word “slut” with “whore” and venereal disease. Associating “sluttish” with venereal disease makes Shakespeare’s use of the word “besmeared” more specific. Fontana states: “The effect of time, personified as a whore, on the hypothetical stone statue of the young man, is identified in metaphor with the effect of syphilis on the body—the statue will be besmeared, that is, covered, with metaphoric blains, lesions, and scars.” (Female) time destroys whereas the male voice of the sonnet is “generative and vivifying.” [1]
1. Fontana, E. “Shakespeare’s Sonnet 55.” The Explicator v. 45 (Spring 1987) p. 6-8. EBSCO Host Database

9/11 Memorial
This is a spot in the city and the nation which has experienced great tragedy, and it is now a place of even greater remembrance…The September 11 attacks were a series of four coordinated terrorist attacks upon the United States in New York City and the Washington, D.C. area on Tuesday September 11, 2001.

Four passenger airliners were hijacked by 19 al-Qaeda terrorists so they could be flown into buildings in suicide attacks. Two of those planes, American Airlines Flight 11 and United Airlines Flight 175, were crashed into the North and South towers, respectively, of the World Trade Center complex in New York City. Within two hours, both towers collapsed with debris and the resulting fires causing partial or complete collapse of all other buildings in the WTC complex, as well as major damage to ten other large surrounding structures. A third plane, American Airlines Flight 77, was crashed into the Pentagon (the headquarters of the United States Department of Defense), leading to a partial collapse in its western side. The fourth plane, United Airlines Flight 93, was targeted at the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C., but crashed into a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania after its passengers tried to overcome the hijackers. In total, almost 3,000 people died in the attacks, including the 227 civilians and 19 hijackers aboard the four planes.
About the Memorial
“The National September 11 Memorial is a tribute of remembrance and honor to the nearly 3,000 people killed in the terror attacks of September 11, 2001 at the World Trade Center site, near Shanksville, Pa., and at the Pentagon, as well as the six people killed in the World Trade Center bombing in February 1993.

The Memorial’s twin reflecting pools are each nearly an acre in size and feature the largest manmade waterfalls in the North America. The pools sit within the footprints where the Twin Towers once stood. Architect Michael Arad and landscape architect Peter Walker created the Memorial design selected from a global design competition that included more than 5,200 entries from 63 nations.

The names of every person who died in the 2001 and 1993 attacks are inscribed into bronze panels edging the Memorial pools, a powerful reminder of the largest loss of life resulting from a foreign attack on American soil and the greatest single loss of rescue personnel in American history.” [1]
Sonnet Project
The 9/11Memorial was the featured location for Sonnet 55, performed by Amanda Holston, directed by Estefania Fadul. The video was released on June 28, 2013.

ACTOR – Amanda Holston
Amanda is thrilled to be part of the NY Shakespeare Exchange team. Producing, acting, and coaching for The Sonnet Project has been a wonderful creative outlet for her growing passion for Shakespeare’s works. Amanda began her affair with the Bard during her undergraduate studies at Temple University in Philadelphia, where she played Jessica in The Merchant of Venice. While pursuing her graduate degree at Brooklyn College, Shakespeare’s language was a strong undercurrent of the training, adding fuel to the fire. Amanda is honored to be part of a company that is casting the Sonnets into the hands of all who wish to experience Shakespeare through a new lens.

DIRECTOR – Estefania Fadul
Estefania Fadul is a New York City-based director and producer. She is the co-founder and artistic director of Pleiades Productions, a theatre company through which she most recently directed Well by Lisa Kron. Other stage credits include Selvish by Carlyn Flint, Garden of Ashes by Jan O’Connor (Looking Glass NYC Writer/Director Forum; winner ‘Best Directorial Debut’), Susan Glaspell’s Trifles (Experimental Theatre of Vassar College), and Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire (Experimental Theatre of Vassar College senior thesis project), for which she was awarded the Molly Thacher Kazan Prize for distinction in the theatre arts. In 2010, Estefania wrote, directed, produced, and edited her first short film BEAUTY MARK, which had its premiere screening at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival’s Short Film Corner. She has assistant directed on various NY-area productions, including for Tony-nominee Sheryl Kaller (Powerhouse/NYSAF and LCT3), Elise Thoron (Public Theater), and Michael Barakiva. She is a proud graduate of Vassar College, where she was a co-founder and member of Idlewild All-female Theatre Ensemble.