Apr 21 2013 · 0 comments · ·

Play Sonnet 21

So is it not with me as with that Muse,
Stirred by a painted beauty to his verse,
Who heaven itself for ornament doth use
And every fair with his fair doth rehearse,
Making a couplement of proud compare
With sun and moon, with earth and sea’s rich gems,
With April’s first-born flowers, and all things rare,
That heaven’s air in this huge rondure hems.
O! let me, true in love, but truly write,
And then believe me, my love is as fair
As any mother’s child, though not so bright
As those gold candles fixed in heaven’s air:
     Let them say more that like of hearsay well;
     I will not praise that purpose not to sell.



Sonnet 21 is largely in praise of understating praise– even if your lover warrants it.

Instead of praising the young man, Bill talks about what he might or might not say of his beloved. He does not wish to follow the example of those poets who force comparisons with everything that is fair, beautiful, strange or rare. Instead he wishes to emphasize the beauty of truthfulness. Since his love is indeed beautiful, what need is there of overdoing it? Why not say at the outset that, quite simply, you, my love, are yourself, you outshine all praise. Billy chooses instead to avoid pandering. The young man is certainly fair, and deserves better than hyperbolic and ludicrous comparisons.


Will’s Wordplay

The Muses were ancient Greek goddesses of artistic inspiration, the one Will references here is the Muse of poetry. “Muse” can be used symbolically for the poet themselves, or for a poem, or for a style of writing.


Historic Richmond Town, Staten Island

Historic Richmond Town is a living history village and museum complex in the neighborhood of Richmondtown, Staten Island. It is located near the geographical center of the island, at the junction of Richmond Road and Arthur Kill Road.

It was formerly a county seat and commercial center which included the former courthouse of Richmond County, coterminous with the borough of Staten Island. The site also contains other former commercial and governmental buildings, as well as farm buildings and homes, some of which were relocated from other parts of Staten Island. Historic Richmond Town is a village comprising over 30 historic buildings and sites dating from the late 17th to the early 20th Century. Decker Farm, located about one mile from the center of Historic Richmond Town, features a farm stand and seasonal activities such as pumpkin picking.

The village area occupies 25 acres of a 100-acre site, with 15 restored buildings. Anyone who comes to Historic Richmond Town has an opportunity to experience the lifestyle of a 300-year old colonial-era community. The two churches located outside the village are St. Andrew’s Episcopal and St. Patrick’s RC. A third church, the Reformed Dutch Church of Richmond, was demolished.

The creation of Historic Richmond Town was the joint effort of many Staten Islanders, led by the vision of local historians and preservationists: Loring McMillen, William T. Davis and local banker David L Decker. Fueled by the same depression-era passion for historic preservation which resulted in the creation of Colonial Williamsburg, these men helped create a testament to Staten Island’s rich history in an era of rapid development and urban sprawl.

Established in 1958, Historic Richmond Town is a joint project of the Staten Island Historical Society, an independent nonprofit cultural organization, and the City of New York, which owns the land and the buildings and supports part of its operations with public funds from the Department of Cultural Affairs. The purpose of this museum village is to make visitors feel as if they are living in the 19th century. Visitors are able to have a first hand experience of what Historic Richmond Town once was.


ACTOR – Shubhra Prakash

Shubhra has lived in Kolkata, New Delhi, San Francisco Bay Area and now resides in New York City. Shubhra has acted and sung on stage ever since her school days in India. Arriving in US, to begin high school, it was in theatre where she found her comfort zone at the time of transition. Now, living in NYC since 2012, she has acted in USA Network’s Royal Pains, on stage in Columbia University’s Vagina Monologues, sung in Brooklyn Community Theater’s musical Once on this Island and acted in Marcus Yi’s, The Procedure as part of the Planet Connections Festival 13′. Her short film Three Dates, which she wrote, directed and produced was screened at New York Indian Film Festival 13′ and WilliFest 13′.

She is thankful to her director Nikhil Kamkolkar and The Sonnet Project NYC for starting her year with Shakespeare, the journey continues as she acts with The Tempest Ladies LLC in their production of Taming of the Shrew at American Theatre for Actors this Feb 19 – 23, is also the Off-Broadway debut.


DIRECTOR – Harry Taylor

Harry Taylor, born in Houston, Texas my mother from Colombia my father from America. The youngest of three siblings, after living a few months in Texas my family traveled a lot from Colombia to New Jersey. My love for film came at the age of thirteen; my stepfather during the time bought the movie “Gladiator” it was a life changing experience. Never got to see an R rated movie before so this was my first time seeing all the violence up close. It was epic and my mouth was completely open, never seen anything with that much scope from the battlefields to the story line, I was captured by the whole film which got me thinking after watching it how did they make it? After that I rented so many films and try to understand movies. Growing up I lived in a lot of towns in New Jersey, coming to Bayonne and going to high school I enrolled in TV production class. “House 2 House” was the first real first hand experience I got for the school understanding how to shoot, a live game show. It was the first step in learning how any type of work is done behind the scenes, it really changed my how outlook on how much preparation and practice goes into shooting a live event or a short film for class. After high school I took some down time to start shooting some live bands from “Wolf-Face” to “Grimus” and helped with a few low budget music videos, until I enrolled in Full Sail University at Orlando, Florida for Film Studies as well as learning Cinematography. Can find me, of course, on youtube and vimeo.


CAMERA OPERATOR – Thomas Palmero

Thomas Palmero went to Bayonne High School and graduated in 2007. He did two years in TV production under the studies of Sal Ianncai. After high school he enrolled in Digital Film Academy in New York where he received his associates in Film. Starting his own company called Lokosoul Productions.

Apr 21 2013 · 0 comments · ·

Play Sonnet 27

Weary with toil, I haste me to my bed,
The dear repose for limbs with travel tired;
But then begins a journey in my head
To work my mind, when body’s work’s expired:
For then my thoughts–from far where I abide–
Intend a zealous pilgrimage to thee,
And keep my drooping eyelids open wide,
Looking on darkness which the blind do see:
Save that my soul’s imaginary sight
Presents thy shadow to my sightless view,
Which, like a jewel hung in ghastly night,
Makes black night beauteous, and her old face new.
     Lo! thus, by day my limbs, by night my mind,
     For thee, and for myself, no quiet find.



Sonnet 27 plays with the duality of night and day, with day being full of work and night full of beauty because that is when the speaker can think on his lover.

Here Willy reflects on how thoughts of his beloved keep him awake, and even in darkness the image floats before him, like a jewel on a night-dark background, making the night beautiful. By day he is made weary by work and travel, and by night rest is denied him, for he has to make journeys in his mind to attend on the loved one, who is far away.


Will’s Wordplay

This sonnet is the only one in the canon that is pangrammatic. A pangram or holoalphabetic composition uses every letter of the alphabet at least once!


Verrazano-Narrows Bridge

If you live on Staten Island you’re familiar with “the bridge”– and you get a break on the toll! The Verrazano-Narrows Bridge (sometimes called simply the Verrazano Bridge) is a double-decked suspension bridge that connects the boroughs of Staten Island and Brooklyn. It spans the Narrows, a body of water connecting the relatively protected upper bay with the larger, wide open lower bay.

“When it opened in 1964, the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge was the world’s longest suspension span. The ends of the bridge are at historic Fort Hamilton in Brooklyn and Fort Wadsworth in Staten Island, both of which guarded New York Harbor at the Narrows for over a century. The bridge was named after Giovanni da Verrazano, who, in 1524, was the first European explorer to sail into New York Harbor.

Its monumental 693 foot high towers are 1 5/8 inches farther apart at their tops than at their bases because the 4,260 foot distance between them made it necessary to compensate for the earth’s curvature. Each tower weighs 27,000 tons and is held together with three million rivets and one million bolts. Seasonal contractions and expansions of the steel cables cause the double-decked roadway to be 12 feet lower in the summer than in the winter.

Located at the mouth of upper New York Bay, the bridge not only connects Brooklyn with Staten Island but is also a major link in the interstate highway system, providing the shortest route between the middle Atlantic states and Long Island.

In Brooklyn, the bridge connects to the Belt Parkway and the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway and to the largely residential community of Bay Ridge. On Staten Island, which saw rapid development after the bridge opened in 1964, it joins the Staten Island Expressway, providing access to the many communities in this most rural of the city’s five boroughs.” [1]



1. http://web.mta.info/bandt/html/veraz.html


ACTOR – Carrie Preston

CARRIE PRESTON played Arlene Fowler on HBO’s TRUE BLOOD, which ran for 7 seasons. She currently has recurring roles on three TV shows: the scatterbrained, genius lawyer Elsbeth Tascioni on THE GOOD WIFE (for which she won an Emmy award) Mr. Finch’s love interest, Grace, on PERSON OF INTEREST and Debbie, opposite Steve Coogan, on the upcoming Showtime series HAPPYISH


Also a director/producer with Daisy 3 Pictures, she directed the feature THAT’S WHAT SHE SAID, starring Anne Heche, Marcia DeBonis and Alia Shawkat which premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival and is available on all platforms. Her latest directorial project is DARWIN: THE SERIES available on YouTube.


FEATURING – Monica Eva Foster

Born in Detroit, Michigan, Monica has lived all over the country (and the globe) in places such as Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, Lake Tahoe, San Diego and Seoul, Korea. Weaving her life experiences into the roles she plays, her character portrayals create a rich tapestry that displays a wide range of skill from drama to comedy.

After taking a hiatus from acting to complete her undergraduate studies, co-found a company, and begin a family, Monica returned to the craft. She currently works predominantly in film (SMALL BEGINNINGS) and television (MY CRAZY LOVE). She recently played the lovable and tipsy Jen Meyers in CINEMA PURGATORIO, a feature film that won Best Comedy and Audience Favorite at the 2015 Beaufort International Film Festival.

Monica travels as much as possible and divides her free time between family and friends, teaching yoga (she’s a 500-Hr Certified E-RYT), cooking, reading, and charitable endeavors. For more info, please visit www.MonicaEvaFoster.com.


DIRECTOR – Michael Dunaway

MICHAEL DUNAWAY is the producer and director of 21 YEARS: RICHARD LINKLATER, a New York Times Critics Pick starring Matthew McConaughey, Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy, Jack Black, Billy Bob Thornton, Keanu Reeves, and more; and of THE MAN WHO ATE NEW ORLEANS, which included Morgan Spurlock, Tory McPhail, and the Rebirth Brass Band. He is also the Creative Producer and Director of Programming for the Sarasota Film Festival (“Indie Film’s Best-Kept Secret” – Indiewire) and Movies Editor at the award-winning Paste Magazine (more than five million
monthly readers). For his Paste podcast The Work, he has interviewed and photographed Robert Duvall, Mark Ruffalo, Jessica Chastain, Diane
Keaton, and many other notables. His current projects include
BIRMINGHAM, a scripted film on Martin Luther King Jr and Fred Shuttlesworth (in partnership with the King, Shuttlesworth, and Poitier families). He lives in Atlanta with his wife and children.


EDITOR – Nate Gardner

Nate Gardner is a filmmaker/editor based out of New York. More work can be seen at www.nategardnerfilm.com


CO-DIRECTOR / DP – Karin Hayes

Karin Hayes is the recipient of the DuPont-Columbia University Award for excellence in broadcast journalism for her first film, The Kidnapping of Ingrid Betancourt (HBO/Cinemax), co-produced with Victoria Bruce. Hayes’s most recent film, WE’RE NOT BROKE premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. Hayes also co-produced and directed Held Hostage in Colombia. The documentary was excerpted on CBS 60 Minutes II and broadcast on The History Channel and the Sundance Channel.
Hayes’s and Bruce’s documentary Pip & Zastrow: An American Friendship was broadcast on PBS/Maryland Public Television and received the Target® Filmmaker Award. Hayes co-authored the book Hostage Nation (Knopf 2010) with Bruce.
Hayes shot for Director Jason DaSilva’s 2013 Sundance Film Festival documentary When I Walk, and was the Associate Producer for Director Paul Rachman’s Sony Pictures Classics documentary American Hardcore: the history of American punk rock from 1980-1986. Hayes has worked on documentaries for PBS, National Geographic Channel, the Travel Channel, the Discovery Channel, and with The Cronkite Ward Company for TLC. Prior to filmmaking, she attended the University of Guadalajara in Mexico, Universidad de Costa Rica, and worked at the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage. Hayes graduated from UCLA with a degree in World Arts and Cultures, with a theater emphasis.

Apr 21 2013 · 0 comments · ·

Play Sonnet 99


The forward violet thus did I chide:
Sweet thief, whence didst thou steal thy sweet that smells,
If not from my love’s breath? The purple pride
Which on thy soft cheek for complexion dwells
In my love’s veins thou hast too grossly dy’d.
The lily I condemned for thy hand,
And buds of marjoram had stol’n thy hair;
The roses fearfully on thorns did stand,
One blushing shame, another white despair;
A third, nor red nor white, had stol’n of both,
And to his robbery had annexed thy breath;
But, for his theft, in pride of all his growth
A vengeful canker eat him up to death.
     More flowers I noted, yet I none could see,
     But sweet, or colour it had stol’n from thee.



Sonnet 99 accuses nature of thieving the beloved’s beauty.

Will criticized the violet, telling it that it had stolen its sweet smell from the youth’s breath, and its purple color from my his veins. He told the lily it had stolen its whiteness from the youth’s hands, and then told marjoram it had stolen his rusty hair; a third flower which was neither color had stolen from both! The red and white roses postured shame and despair at Will’s accusations. In fact, all flowers had stolen something from Will’s beloved youth.


Will’s Wordplay

This sonnet has 15 lines, and is the only poem in the sequence which has more than fourteen (126 has 12). Sonnet structure was not fixed during the period, and Sidney Lee adduces many examples of fifteen line sonnets. An extra line is particularly common in linked sonnets, and this sonnet is linked to 98; Malone ended 98 with a colon to demonstrate the connection. However, other scholars have remarked on the clumsiness of the first line and suggested that the quarto text represents an unrevised draft that found its way into print. [1]


Scholar’s Corner

The sonnet has attracted some attention as one of those that appears to provide clues about the historical identity of Shakespeare’s subject (on the traditional assumption that the poems are in some sense autobiographical). In 1904, C. C. Stopes noted the existence of a portrait of Southampton at Welbeck Abbey in which his hair curls in a manner similar to young marjoram. This analysis has been disputed by scholars who assert that smell, rather than appearance, is the primary referent of Shakespeare’s line. Because of the extravagant praise of the beloved’s body, some Victorian scholars were reluctant to believe that the poem was addressed to a man; current consensus, however, groups it with the other poems written to the young man. [2]


Alice Austen House

A vibrant cultural center, the Alice Austen House keeps the daring spirit of the early American photographer alive by showcasing her life, work, and home. Clear Comfort, the Austen family home, is one of the oldest homes in New York City, but was later renovated into a charming Victorian Gothic Cottage that became Alice’s studio. Come explore late 19th century period rooms, changing exhibitions of Austen’s work and contemporary photography, and the lovely waterfront grounds with panoramic views of the New York Harbor and Lower Manhattan. The museum is open Tuesday – Sunday 11:00am – 5:00pm and closed in January and February.


Alice Austen

Alice Austen (1866 – 1952) was one of America’s earliest and most prolific female photographers, and over the course of her life she captured about 8,000 images. Though she is best known for her documentary work, Austen was an artist with a strong aesthetic sensibility. Furthermore, she was a landscape designer, a master tennis player, and the first woman on Staten Island to own a car. She never married, and instead spent 50 years with Gertrude Tate. A rebel who broke away from the ties of her Victorian environment, Alice Austen created her own independent life.


Austen’s Work

Alice Austen was one of the first women photographers in this country to work outside the confines of a studio. She is best known as a documentary photographer – a style of photography unusual until the 20th century. With a natural instinct for photojournalism some 40 years before that word was coined, she saw the world with a clear eye and photographed the people and places in it, as they actually appeared. But she was also an artist, with a strong aesthetic sensibility and a determined eye. She knew what she wanted to capture, and she knew how to capture it.


Clear Comfort

Clear Comfort (a.k.a. the Alice Austen House) dates back to a circa 1700 one-room Dutch farmhouse. In 1844 John Haggerty Austen, Alice Austen’s grandfather, purchased the home and made many of the renovations that gave the home its Victorian Gothic character. Alice Austen herself moved there as a young girl in the late 1860s with her mother, Alice Cornell Austen, after the two were abandoned by Alice’s father. In 1917, Gertrude Tate moved in, and the two lived together until financial problems forced them to move in 1945. When they left, the house fell into disrepair until a group of concerned citizens saved it from demolition in the 1960s. The house successfully gained status as a historic landmark, was restored in the mid-1980s, and opened as a public museum devoted to the pioneering American photographer in 1985.



1. http://aliceausten.org/her-life/
2. http://aliceausten.org/her-home/


ACTOR – Peter Straus

Peter Daniel Straus has acted and performed around the world, including the lead role in the feature The Ride of Tom and Valkerie, numerous independent short films, featured TV spots on The Late Show with David Letterman and the award winning television mini-series The Half Brother (Halvbroren) for NRK (Norway). He’s been a featured comedian and fire juggler at the Metropolitan Opera, acted in plays at regional theaters like the Denver Center Theatre Company, was featured as the White Rabbit in Alice i Eventyrland at the National Theatre of Norway, and recently played Feste the Fool in Mile Square Theatre’s production of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. He’s toured nationally with Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, performs adult comedy “boy-lesque” around New York in venues like The Box, and loves using humor’s healing power as a comedy “doctor” with the Big Apple Circus’ Clown Care program. Wearing another hat, Peter directs and consults for theatre productions and variety performers. He is a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College and the British American Drama Academy. www.peterdanielstraus.com


DIRECTOR – Stephanie Sellars

Stephanie Sellars is a New York-based filmmaker, writer, and performer. She has written, produced, directed, and acted in many short films, which have won awards and played festivals including Big Apple Film Festival, Coney Island Film Festival, Outfest, Frameline San Francisco, Newport Beach Film Festival, DC Shorts, Costa Rica Intl. Film Festival, Woods Hole Film Festival, New Filmmakers, and Cinekink. Her first film, Twenty Minutes of Immortality, was licensed by IFC and aired on the channel for three years. Stephanie studied film at La Femis in Paris and Columbia University School of the Arts where she received a MFA in 2013. Her feature screenplay Lust Life was a quarter-finalist in Austin (2011) and BlueCat (2012) Screenplay Competitions. From 2006-2007 she wrote a weekly sex / relationship column of the same name for New York Press. Stephanie has also been published in Moviemaker, Go Magazine, and recently completed her first novel Crazy Without Consequence. As a singer and variety performer, Stephanie has performed in cabarets, theatres and many other places in New York and abroad. For several years, she produced and performed in Catbaret, a fundraiser for Anjellicle Cats Rescue, one of New York’s largest animal rescue organizations. She lives in New York with her husband Peter Daniel Straus and three cats. www.stephaniesellars.com

Apr 18 2013 · 0 comments · ·

Play Sonnet 109

O! never say that I was false of heart,
Though absence seemed my flame to qualify,
As easy might I from my self depart
As from my soul which in thy breast doth lie:
That is my home of love: if I have ranged,
Like him that travels, I return again;
Just to the time, not with the time exchanged,
So that myself bring water for my stain.
Never believe though in my nature reigned,
All frailties that besiege all kinds of blood,
That it could so preposterously be stained,
To leave for nothing all thy sum of good;
     For nothing this wide universe I call,
     Save thou, my rose, in it thou art my all.



In Sonnet 109, the poet tells his beloved that they mean more to him than anything or anyone else.

Billy wants his lover never to say that he was unfaithful in his heart, even though his absence may have suggested otherwise. He and his feelings are as inseparable as he is from himself. She are his home, straying would make him a traveler, and he would return again, at the appointed time, with feelings unchanged. This is how he rights his misdeed. Despite the weaknesses in his nature as everyone made of flesh and blood, Billy could never be so morally compromised as to leave someone so good for something worthless. Nothing in the entire universe means anything to him but her.


Will’s Wordplay

A word on blood: It is said here with a suggestion of family, kinship, line of descent. Base-born blood would be considered to have baser desires than noble blood. There are also implications in sonnets 111 & 112 of the Will’s “baser” social connections. He’s just a poor boy, from a poor family! Blood could also mean animal passions, carnality, or a tendency to those things. Meow.


Snug Harbor Cultural Center, Staten Island

“Located along the north shore of Staten Island near the ferry, Sailors Snug Harbor was originally built as a home for retired sailors, eventually becoming a cultural center for both Staten Island and the rest of New York.

The institution was founded in 1801 after Captain Robert Richard Randall’s (d. 1801) will specified that his Manhattan estate be used to start a marine hospital for “aged, decrepit and worn-out seamen.” The name Sailors Snug Harbor was suggested by Randall himself. At the time of his death, Randall’s estate, located north and east of modern-day Washington Square, was rural. By the time a protracted challenge to his will was settled, the land around the estate had changed dramatically, the city being developed around the area. Opting instead to maximize profits on the Manhattan property, Snug Harbor’s trustees relocated the proposed site to Staten Island, buying property around the harbor in 1831.

The first of Snug Harbor’s many buildings opened in 1833. Over time its initial group of 37 residents grew and more buildings were added, including the chapel, music hall, and more dormitories. Completed in 1830-31, Building C, the center building in a series of five Greek-revival style structures facing the water, is the home of the Main Hall of the Newhouse Gallery. The other four buildings were added in 1839-1841 and 1879-80, and are notable in that they exhibit a high degree of stylistic uniformity. The Chapel (1854) and its romantic Anglo-Italian style of architecture is also a landmark.

In the 1960s the Trustees of Snug Harbor considered demolishing the buildings and upgrading and modernizing the facilities. In 1965 The City Landmarks Preservation Commission stepped in, designating six of the structures on the site official landmarks. (Other landmarked features include the Gatehouse and the site’s perimeter wrought-iron fence, both designated in 1973.) When the State Department of Health ordered Snug Harbor to remedy fire hazards in the landmarked buildings in 1970, the Trustees again discussed trying to undo the designation. In the early 1970s the dilapidated Sung Harbor had become economically nonviable, and the Trustees announced that they would move the home to North Carolina, agreeing to sell the site to the City for market value. The first of three parcels, 14.5 acres containing the landmarked structures, were sold to the City for $1.8 million in 1972. The City could not purchase the entire property, and in the interim a developer had purchased the site’s other land for a potential residential project before the City stepped in to purchase the 65-acre parcel for $7.2 million. A third parcel in the northwest portion of the park was added in 1978.

In December 1974 local officials appointed a committee to investigate uses and develop a strategy for Snug Harbor. Following the recommendation of the committee, the Snug Harbor Cultural Center, Inc. was born. The Snug Harbor Cultural Center opened in 1976 as volunteers raised funds and began programming the center. The first art exhibit at the site opened in November, 1977.

Today over 250,000 people a year visit Snug Harbor, enjoying its many amenities. The Beaux-Arts style Music Hall, built in 1892, hosts year-round concerts, dance and dramatic performances, film and video series, and poetry and fiction readings. The Newhouse Galleries exhibit contemporary art, and the Botanical Garden is one of the largest in the New York area, complementing the Connie Gretz Secret Garden and the New York Chinese Scholar’s Garden, the first and only classical Chinese Garden in the United States. The site also boasts a children’s museum, art labs, and the John A. Noble Collection, a collection of maritime art in Building D.

A replica of a statue of Robert Randall (1884) by Augustus Saint-Gaudens (1848–1907) stands in the northwestern corner of the site. After the aging sailors left for North Carolina it was feared that the statue of Randall would follow, and although the Trustees signed a long-term loan agreement in 1976 to keep the statue on site, in 1982 they returned the original to North Carolina and arranged for a cast to be made that can be seen today. The Neptune Fountain (1893) and its figure, originally cast in zinc because of lack of funding, were recast in bronze in 1994 following the original plans. A third piece by Seena Donneson made of red-reinforced concrete called Icon II was dedicated in 1980 at a sculpture show at the then-fledgling cultural center.” [1]



1. http://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/sailors-snug-harbor/history


ACTOR – Ryan George

Ryan George is a NYC based actor. He received his B.F.A. in Theatre Performance at UF. His NYC credits include I HOPE THEY SERVE BEER ON BROADWAY (Roy Arias Theatre) & SWEETHEARTS OF SWING (The Triad). Regional credits include the Hippodrome Theatre: DEFIANCE (Capt. Lee King), THE TEMPEST (Caliban), & A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM (Demetrius/Snug). As well as The Gablestage: THE BROTHERS SIZE (Oshoosi Size) & HAMLET (Laertes/Rosencrantz). Commercial work include DIRECT TV and GILLETTE. He can also be seen in numerous Online/Digital Media videos on YOUTUBE and THE ONION NEWS NETWORK.


FEATURING- Kristen French


DIRECTOR – Lucas Rainey

Lucas Rainey is a New York-based film and music video director and a co-founder of Doors Off Content. A graduate of Oberlin College and Prague Film School, he has directed music videos for artists including Mainland and Deviant Fix. He moonlights as one of New York’s many rock mandolinists.



George Lois is the president of Doors Off Content and a producer for Good Karma Creative. He has produced commercials for clients including Cablevision and Travalo.


EDITOR- Matthew Russell

Matthew Russell a co-founder of Doors Off Content, is a film and television editor and producer. His editing credits include work for History, National Geographic, and the Travel Channel.

Apr 18 2013 · 0 comments · ·

Play Sonnet 119

liedys 1 Liedys 2

What potions have I drunk of Siren tears,
Distilled from limbecks foul as hell within,
Applying fears to hopes, and hopes to fears,
Still losing when I saw myself to win!
What wretched errors hath my heart committed,
Whilst it hath thought itself so blessed never!
How have mine eyes out of their spheres been fitted,
In the distraction of this madding fever!
O benefit of ill! now I find true
That better is by evil still made better;
And ruined love, when it is built anew,
Grows fairer than at first, more strong, far greater.
     So I return rebuked to my content,
     And gain by ill thrice more than I have spent.

Sonnet 119 claims that what doesn’t kill your love affair makes it stronger.

Willy has tasted many sweet medicines that were bitter and foul in their creation: He has forced himself to fear optimism and hope against his fears, always losing when he expected to win, each instinct revealing a fatal error. His eyes have flown from their sockets with fever, but it has made him see that bad experiences can make good things, like love, better and stronger for the rebuilding. so he returns triumphantly to his love, and gaining three times more good though his misdeed.

Will’s Wordplay
The Sirens were mythical maidens or goddesses who lived on an unspecified island in the Mediterranean and lured sailors to their doom. Their story is first told in Homer’s Odyssey (circa 750 BC), by Odysseus. It is not immediately apparent why Shakespeare uses the term Siren tears, unless it is in reference to the tears of disappointment which the Sirens perhaps shed when they fail to entrap a man who comes close enough to fall within their grasp.

Limbecks or alembics were the flasks used by alchemists to distil liquids in order to make them more pure. Successive distillation in theory would provide a more potent elixir. In this case the elixir (the Sirens’ tears) is deeply tainted by the foulness of the distilling apparatus. Sexual references may well be active in these lines, since the shape of alembics was suggestive of genitalia, and sexual disgust is recorded in King Lear in similar language.

Liedy’s Shore Inn, Staten Island
The kind of place where everybody knows your name, Liedy’s Shore Inn is the oldest tavern on Staten Island. It was founded in 1905.

“Liedy’s (pronounced LEE-dees) is the kind of place where the worn wooden floors are as old as the 102-year-old building, where a pint of Budweiser or Pabst Blue Ribbon still costs only $2.50, and where framed lists on the wall bear the names of the island’s dead from World Wars I and II. There is also a photograph of Thomas W. Kelly, a firefighter friend lost on Sept. 11.

Even with the bar closed, as was the case last week, old friends and regulars — fellows in their 50s and 60s wearing jeans and baseball caps — still stop by to visit the ramshackle brick-and-shingle building on Richmond Terrace in New Brighton. There they trade memories and, by doing so, help keep the place alive.”[1]

License Troubles
“On Feb. 28, [2007] the State Liquor Authority terminated the tavern’s liquor license for the first time in the bar’s history, ruling that the license was illegal. As it turned out, the bar’s owner, Larry Liedy, was operating the tavern with a license issued to his mother, Ruth; after her death in 1999, he never applied for a license in his own name. The mistake, he said, was simply a result of “negligence” on his part. “ [1] Loyal patrons created a “Save Liedy’s” petition campaign and collected over 200 signatures. The issue was soon resolved.

1. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/25/nyregion/thecity/25bar.html?ref=thecity&pagewanted=all

ACTOR – Laurie Birmingham
So my dear, sweet father used to tell the story of how I got started in theatre like this…
Ed Birmingham – “One morning I was awake very early. In fact, it was still dark outside. I was standing in the kitchen, in the dark, when my little Laurie walked in to get a drink of cold water out of the fridge. I don’t think she saw me. She was only 5 at the time. I watched her open the fridge door and when the light came on…she started singing and tap dancing.” The rest is herstory.

Born and raised in Southern California, I spent most of my early years in the South Bay Area. My family moved around a lot: Manhattan and Hermosa Beach, Inglewood, Torrance. But most of that time we stayed in Redondo Beach where I attended Beryl Elementary School where I began my official acting career in 3rd grade lip-singing to Nancy Sinatra’s “These Boots Are Made For Walking”. I even had white, vinyl boots and back-up singers! The applause grabbed me and I was hooked! My entertainment career was officially launched!!!

At Redondo Union High School I recieved two “Oscars”: Most Likely To Succeed and the Best Actor Award for my portrayal of Frankie in A Member Of The Wedding. I was also a Varsity Cheerleader, an alto in the school choir, Girl’s League President and spoke at my graduation. After high school I took two years of undergrad credits at El Camino Jr. College (Played Glinda, The Good Witch in their production of The Wizard of Oz!) and was accepted as a Junior into the Theatre Dept. at UCLA. But after seeing a few shows and doing some research I ended up choosing Los Angeles City College as my next school of choice. It turned out to be a great decision because during that time I met Sandy Robbins who had just started his first class of the Professional Theatre Training Program located in Milwaukee, WI. After completing two years at LACC, I was accepted into the second class of the PTTP in 1981 and then graduated MFA in 1984. That program has now moved to the University of Delaware and is still considered one of the very best Classical Theatre Training Programs in the USA. I wouldn’t give up the training I got there for all the world! Thanks to Sandy Robbins, Jewel Walker, Leslie Reidel, Susan Sweeney, and the late Penelope Court… my teachers, mentors, my friends.

The years after grad school took me all over the USA: to Seattle, Utah, Milwaukee, Alabama, Florida, back to Utah and Milwaukee, Atlanta, all over Wisconsin, but Milwaukee finally became my official HOME BASE and that’s where I stayed and played for the better part of the next 25 years.

I played just about every theatre in Milwaukee and toured all over Wisconsin. To name a few: Madison Repertory Theatre, American Players Theatre, Skylight Theatre, Renaissance Theatre, Chamber Theatre, Great American Children’s Theatre, and American Folklore Theatre. Then I finally got into the Milwaukee Repertory Theatre and performed many, many roles there for the next 17 years thanks to Joe Hanreddy, the Artistic Director, who brought me in for his first show, Dancing At Lughnasa in the role of Maggie in 1992. Some other favorite roles at the Rep include: Josie in A Moon for the Misbegotten, Claire in A Delicate Balance, The Widow Quin in Playboy of the Western World, Penny Sycamore in You Can’t Take It With You, and many years, in many roles, in 3 adaptations of A Christmas Carol. I also created the role of Betty Jean in Roger Bean’s girl band musical, The Marvelous Wonderettes which eventually played off-Broadway to great success!

In 2009 I was cast as Big Mama in Cat On A Hot Tin Roof under the direction of Adrian Hall. That was as an alumni at the Rep Ensemble Theatre which is connected with Sandy Robbin’s PTTP now located in Delaware. That was when I got the bee in my bonnet to finally give NYC a try. So at the young age of 51 I decided to take the plunge and try my hand at the Big Apple. It’s been a successful 4 years! I’ve had two off-Broadway shows: A Little Journey by Rachel Crothers for The Mint Theatre Company (which was nominated as Best Revival of a Play for the Drama Critic’s Awards) and I also created the role of Miss Abigail for Davenport Theatricals in the new comedy, Miss Abigail’s Guide To Dating, Mating, and Marriage which played downstairs at Sofia’s on 43rd Street and also toured in 2011. I made my first TV pilot, got a small role on The Onion News Network, and did a staged reading with Red Bull Theatre. Then I auditioned for Ross Williams for his new company, NY Shakespeare Exchange and have been playing and performing with them ever since! I am also a narrator for Recorded Books and have recorded 9 titles with them to date. You can find any of those books on tape at recordedbooks.com or other places like Amazon.

Now it’s 2013 and I’m hardly ever in NYC anymore (which happens a lot to working Regional Theatre actors). So many regional companies come to NY to audition and one day my dear friend told me about an audition for Charlie Fee, the Artistic Director of the Great Lakes Theatre Company in Cleveland. They have two sister theatres: one in Boise, Idaho (Idaho Shakespeare Festival) and one in Lake Tahoe (Tahoe Shakespeare Festival). I got cast in their production of Romeo and Juliet as the Nurse and then snagged a role in A Winter’s Tale as Paulina. Then they needed a replacement for their yearly Christmas Carol and so I got lucky and slipped into that slot. Next thing I knew they were offering me a full season the following year and so I am with them again presently playing Madame Arcati in Blithe Spirit, Ensemble in Sweeney Todd, Antonia in Much Ado About Nothing, and Queen Margaret in Richard III (directed by my old pal and mentor, Joe Hanreddy!) I’ll finish this year in Cleveland once again with Christmas Carol playing Silly Cynthia and The Laundress at the beautiful Ohio Theatre with Great Lakes Theatre.

Where to go from here? Who knows! Ahhhh, the life of a working actor! Life is Good!

Feel free to read more about my career and life at lauriebirmingham.com

DIRECTOR – Daniel Finley
Daniel Finley is a director, photographer, and owner of Dannyjive LLC, a full service creative production company based in New York City. His past clients include: PBS, McCann Erickson, Gettys, Hilton, Me: In Focus magazine, Hush Chicago magazine, Indigo Weekly, and several independent artists and musicians.

As a director, Daniel has won awards for scripts and films including the CAAP Grant, top 10% in the Academy’s Nicholl Fellowship, and shown work at several film festivals. His directing work has been described as naturalistic, story driven, creating empathetic characters, and delivering on performance.

As a photographer, Daniel has been nominated as emerging photographer of the year by Scott Bourne and Photofocus, inducted to Nikon’s Emerging Photographer Hall of Fame, and has been published in various magazines. His pohtos harnesses mood, color, and texture to create striking and impactful images.
Website: http://www.dannyjive.com