Play Sonnet 88

When thou shalt be disposed to set me light,
And place my merit in the eye of scorn,
Upon thy side, against myself I’ll fight,
And prove thee virtuous, though thou art forsworn.
With mine own weakness being best acquainted,
Upon thy part I can set down a story
Of faults concealed, wherein I am attainted;
That thou in losing me shalt win much glory:
And I by this will be a gainer too;
For bending all my loving thoughts on thee,
The injuries that to myself I do,
Doing thee vantage, double-vantage me.
     Such is my love, to thee I so belong,
     That for thy right, myself will bear all wrong.



In Sonnet 88, the poet undertakes to defend the beloved when, in time, they themselves will be cast aside and denigrated as an object unworthy of love.

Billy tells his beloved that when they criticize him, he will agree, and support their opinion as virtue, even though it is a betrayal. He does this because he knows his own faults, and is so convincing when he describes them, that his lover will be vindicated. By this note, he can consider himself a winner, because his love for this person is such that any gain to them is a gain twofold or him. He cares so much that to help this person whom he loves, he will harm himself.


Will’s Wordplay

The key to a full understanding this sonnet is found in the words “gainer” and “vantage”. The speaker envisages an inevitable (i.e. “When”), vigorous and adversarial incident between the sonnet’s “I” and the addressee, “thou”. This conflict is established by the words “scorn”, “side”, “fight”, “losing”, “win”, “gainer”, “vantage” and “double-vantage”.


Moses Statue, Court House, Grand Concourse

The Bronx County Courthouse, also known as the Mario Merola Building, is a historic courthouse building located in the Bronx in New York City. It was designed in 1931 and built between 1931 and 1934. It is a nine story limestone building on a rusticated granite base in the Art Deco style. It has four identical sides, an interior court, and a frieze designed by noted sculptor Charles Keck. The sculptures on the 161st Street side are by noted sculptor George Holburn Snowden. Two sculptural groups on the Walton Avenue side are by noted sculptor Joseph Kiselewski. The Bronx Museum of the Arts was once located on the main floor.


ACTOR – Joe Bowen

Joseph Bowen is a New York City-based actor. His New York credits include work with Project Shaw (The Devil’s Disciple), Astoria Performing Arts Center (Merrily We Roll Along), and the Duke Theater on 42nd Street (All for Joe). Chicago credits include the Ravinia Festival (Sunday in the Park with George), Royal George Theatre (Leaving Iowa), and 10 years as a company member of ShawChicago. He has worked at regional theaters such as PlayMakers Repertory Company (Richard II, Cyrano de Bergerac), New Harmony Theatre (The Crucible, All’s Well that Ends Well, She Stoops to Conquer and others), Mill Mountain Theater (Great Expectations), Manchester NH’s Palace Theatre (The Boys Next Door) and Meadow Brook Theater (A Christmas Carol). Film: Carnal, Gless, Freudian Slip, Ten and The Age of Fiction.


FEATURING – Joyce Fideor

A multi-faceted actress for stage, television and film, Joyce received an MFA from the Yale School of Drama, and has studied under such notable thespians as Robert Lewis, Alvin Epstein, and Lee Bruer.

Joyce’s Broadway debut was as Lady Macduff in Nicol Williamson’s direction of Macbeth. Regional theatre credits include, Blanche in Streetcar (dir. Steven Hollis), Nora in A Doll’s House (dir. Steve Stettler), and Lady Anne in Richard III (dir. John Dillon).

She has workshopped scripts by Wendy Wasserstein and Christopher Durang, among others, and has been in several world premieres, including Sam Shepard’s Suicide in B-Flat at the Yale Repertory Theatre.

In addition to acting, Joyce has formal training in movement, voice, singing, stage combat, and mime. She has appeared on stage at The Public Theater, Circle in the Square, Yale Rep, and Dallas New Arts Theatre, to name a few.

Currently, Joyce is an actress for The Actors Studio Playwrights/Directors Workshop, where she continues to appear in new works by New York’s finest up and coming playwrights.


DIRECTOR – Stephanie Gardner

Stephanie Gardner is an Emmaus, PA and NYC based writer/director for film and theatre. Past clients include Ellie Wiesel, Yale University, Urban Stages, and Miller Symphony Hall. Her most recent film, “If I Had A Piano (I’d Play You The Blues)” has won Best of Show at the Greater Lehigh Valley Filmmakers Festival, and an Award of Merit: Special Mention through the Accolade Global Film Competition. Additionally, “If I Had A Piano” is an Official Selection of New York No Limits 2015 Film Summit, NewFilmmakers NY, and the European Film Festival.

Stephanie has written and directed over 14 short films, including Sonnet 151 for the New York Shakespeare Exchange The Sonnet Project. Her film “And If I Stay,” played NewFilmmakers NY at the historic Anthology Film Archives, and was selected by the International Festival of Cinematic Arts LA. “Love Yourself” by Tha Gecko Brothers, a music video she directed which speaks out against domestic violence, played at this year’s Harlem International Film Festival.

Stephanie received an MFA in Dramatic Writing from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, Asia where she participated in masterclasses and screenwriting workshops under the tutelage of Oliver Stone (“Platoon“), Todd Solondz (“Happiness“), Richard Wesley (“Uptown Saturday Night“), and Sabrina Dhawan (“Monsoon Wedding“).

To learn more about Stephanie as a writer and director or to view samples of her work, please visit



Shivani Khattar began to develop her foundation as a visual storyteller in theatre; winning several accolades in India for her work as a theatre actor and director. She received training under some of the greatest theatre legends in India including the late Shri Habib Tanvir. She then moved into film and video working as a freelance cinematographer and editor for documentaries, TV pilots and radio news features. She worked as an Assistant Producer at Spot Films, New Delhi an independent TV/ News Features Agency and worked for about a year in Northeast-India at the height of its militant insurgency; on a media project for DFID and Internews Europe to promote human rights awareness on issues involving the People living with HIV/AIDS in the region. She got her Masters of Arts degree in Filmmaking from NYU’s Tisch School of Arts Asia where she received the NYU Graduate production award for her thesis film ‘Noor’ as well as the Paulette Godard Scholarship two years in a row. During her time at NYU she shot over ten short films, narrative and documentaries that have been screened at international film festivals including Palm Springs International Film Festival, South by Southwest, Salt Lake City International Film Festival and Clermont Ferrand. She is one of the founders of ‘Films for People’, a film company involved in the production of socially relevant films in South-East Asia. In addition she is also involved in shooting an independent documentary feature about the sex industry of Cambodia titled ‘Night Mothers’ in addition to developing a feature script that was shortlisted for the Cannes Residence du Festival in 2012.