Here’s a fun new urban project for you. The Sonnet Project from NY Shakespeare Exchange and its accompanying Android and iPhone app uses 154 unique New York City locations as a glorious backdrop for short films to go along with all 154 of Shakespeare’s sonnets. The Sonnet Project was started in an attempt to bring the presence of Shakespeare the playwright to those who have never experienced him.
The Sonnet Project site is a growing archive of videos for Shakespeare’s sonnets, growing by about 2 videos per week.
After its inaugural $50,000 Kickstarter campaign was met, production began. A total of 154 different actors will each perform one sonnet, with the aim being completion before the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth–April 23rd, 2014. However, as the creators explain on their site: “Every single sonnet required time and effort beyond our imagining. We decided to focus on the journey rather than the destination – the Project will not be finished by April. But that’s ok. The Project has exploded into a sprawling, barely controllable, ever-growing, ever-changing tribute to Shakespeare’s art, New York City, and the artists that live here.”
Screenshot from the video for Shakespeare’s Sonnet 9, filmed in Brooklyn Bridge Park. (via Sonnet Project)
On the website, each sonnet has some short analysis below the video, as well as some photos and location details. Locations span the five boroughs include the Brooklyn Bridge, Chelsea Piers, Isham Park, Red Hook, Central Park, Brooklyn Botanic Garden, and much much more. The makers of the project have kept their mission in sight, as the videos are creative and captivating and the blurbs are informative and understandable. They also include short bios of the director, actors, and film team for each video.
Screenshot from Sonnet 10, filmed on Pier 49, Hudson River Park (via Sonnet Project)
By embracing the mobile platform, the Project has grown considerably with over 5000 app downloads on six continents. Download the app here for Android or iOS. Special thanks to Ross Williams for putting this on our radar! Get in touch with the author @uptownvoice.