If you had to choose a book to turn to when you could no longer read, which one would it be? Have you ever learned a song, a poem or even an entire book by heart? Taking these questions as its starting point, By Heart hymns the power of poetry, memory and freedom on stage.
The distinguished artist and artistic director of the National Theatre of Portugal, Tiago Rodrigues, gives us a hymn to the power of poetry, memory and freedom. As he teaches a Shakespeare sonnet to ten audience volunteers on stage, he brings a narrative into being which connects a true story about his grandmother, who is losing her sight, with texts and tales by celebrated authors including the Nobel prize winner Boris Pasternak, Ray Bradbury, George Steiner and Joseph Brodsky. As the performance continues, it becomes clear why he has chosen this particular sonnet.
By Heart, which is being staged at the OCC as part of the tribute to Shakespeare in the 400th year since his death, is all about the hiding place we keep safe in our minds and hearts, the place where we keep forbidden texts safe—texts which keep civilization safe in even the most brutal and troubled of times. For, as George Steiner once noted: “Once 10 people know a poem by heart, there’s nothing the KGB, the CIA or the Gestapo can do about it. It will survive”.
14 Dec 2016
TALKS & THOUGHTS
Discussion on Shakespeare’s Sonnets
Hommage on the occasion of the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death