THURSDAY 23rd APRIL 2020
Rather than cancel the scheduled “Evening with Shakespeare”, which was meant to be held at The Hideaway cafe, on the occasion of the 456th anniversary of his birth on 23rd April, it was converted into a meeting on the Zoom virtual meeting platform.
Hosted by Tony Quarrington, it proved an enjoyable couple of hours of readings from the Bard himself, reminiscences about how attendees first encountered Shakespeare at school or in the theatre, and a more general and inevitable discussion around how everyone was coping in the Coronavirus climate.
In addition to Tony, four other members of the writing group – John Leman Riley, Caroline Frances Boorman and Debby and Matthew Jones took part, along with Stuart and Valerie Sheach from the Quarterhouse Book Group (of which Tony, John and Caroline are also members), Trevor DeVooght from the Write Space writing group and Frank Butler, a friend of Tony’s from Dunton Green.
Whilst everyone was getting settled, Matthew conducted a short Shakespeare quiz which was won by Caroline, or John, or Tony, or probably all three – it didn’t really matter, but it was a lot of fun.
The following pieces from Shakespeare were read:
- The tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow speech from Macbeth by John
- Sonnet 18 (Shall I Compare Thee To a Summer’s Day) by Caroline
- The St Crispin’s Day speech (We few, we happy few, we band of brothers) from Henry V by Trevor
- Sonnet 116 (Let Me Not to the Marriage of True Minds) by Tony
Stuart and Valerie regaled us too with a pantomime (their word) version of Act 3, Scene 7 from King Lear, where Gloucester’s eye is plucked out by Cornwall.
Tony concluded the readings with Prospero’s Our Revels Now Are Ended speech from The Tempest, followed with a piece by the theatre critic, Bernard Levin, about the number of phrases we use today that we owe to Shakespeare (Frank had also mentioned this earlier).
It was agreed that the meeting had been a success and that it should become a regular feature, at least during the current lockdown and until “normality” is restored and we can meet again in person. Tony undertook to arrange a further meeting for the following Thursday (30th) and asked participants to suggest the format and subject matter.
Please contact Tony for the details of Thursdays Zoom chat.