News / Arts & Entertainment

Shakespeare's Sonnets Come to Life in New App

The famed Martin Droeshout engraving of William Shakespeare, printed on the cover of Shakespeare's first Folio, or first complete collection of his plays, printed in 1623.
The famed Martin Droeshout engraving of William Shakespeare, printed on the cover of Shakespeare's first Folio, or first complete collection of his plays, printed in 1623.
Reuters
— A new app launched on Monday aims to bring William Shakespeare's sonnets to the masses with the help of short films starring stage actors performing them in front of New York landmarks.The Sonnet Project is a free app for the iPhone and iPad that showcases the bard's poetry through films of up to two minutes and performances by Tony-Award winning actors Joanna Gleason and Cady Huffman, among others.
 
“Shakespeare gets a bad rap. A lot of people say 'I don't like Shakespeare, he's over my head,' or 'Shakespeare is boring,”' said Ross Williams, the artistic director of the New York Shakespeare Exchange, the non-profit organization behind The Sonnet Project.
 
“I wondered what happens if we share Shakespeare in really easily digestible chunks so people can get used to having him in their lives?” he added.
 
Shakespeare's 154 sonnets, first published in 1609 explore themes such as the love, beauty, and death.
 
Different locations across New York were selected for each sonnet, including the World Trade Center Memorial and the Brooklyn Bridge. Actors and directors and text coaches helped to interpret the themes.
 
To mark the launch of the app, 10 short films will be released on Monday, and a new one every few days after that. About 75 more films have been completed or are in the works. Users can receive notifications with the iPhone app when a new one is released.
 
Another iPad app released last year called The Sonnets by William Shakespeare includes performances by actress Kim Cattrall, of “Sex and the City” fame, Patrick Stewart of “Star Trek” and British actor Stephen Fry.
 
Created by Britain's Touch Press, it also features commentary and information about the sonnets. The app, which costs $6.99, also includes a replica of the original sonnets, and interviews with scholars and Shakespeare experts.
 
Cambridge University Press also launched two new iPad apps for Shakespeare lovers in February as part of their “Explore Shakespeare” series, including the plays “Twelfth Night” and “A Midsummer Night's Dream.” Other plays in the series include “Macbeth” and “Romeo and Juliet.” Each cost $13.99 and feature audio performances, commentary and other interactive content.
 
Williams said the New York Shakespeare Exchange's mission is to bring Shakespeare to the masses. He hopes that by introducing Shakespeare's sonnets in small bites people will appreciate and understand the works.
 
“When you hear those words something just moves, shifts inside of you,” he explained. “There is a simplicity of spirit within the poetry and I think that's why people can connect to it in such an amazing way.”

You May Like

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

Judge Declares Washington DC Ban on Public Handguns Unconstitutional

Ruling overturns capital city's prohibition on carrying guns in public More

Pricey Hepatitis C Drug Draws Criticism

Activists are using the International AIDS Conference to criticize drug companies for charging high prices for life-saving therapies More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid

New in Music Alley

The Hamilton Live

Acclaimed jazz saxophonist Tia Fuller has made a name for herself appearing with such high-profile artists as Beyonce, Esperanza Spalding, and Terri Lyne Carrington. Tia and her quartet performed music from her CD “Angelic Warrior” on our latest edition of "The Hamilton Live."