Last week I gave a bunch of visiting UCLA students a talk on the sonnets.

One of them, a very kind Natalie de Luna, wrote up the talk:

Crystal reminded us to keep in mind the brilliance of Shakes where every punctuation, every caesura, every capitalization is there for a reason. Every imperfect iambic pentameter line is meant to show the character’s distraught brokenness.

He had us each perform the sonnets, many people took the creative notch up a bit as they turned the sonnets into a funky rap, or brought it down to a mellow tone, with doubled voices emphasizing capitalized letters and the melancholy of Sonnet 29.

And here’s Kelsey Sharpe’s report of the session, with a couple of videos:

As Crystal’s great desire is for people to perform, rather than just read, Shakespeare, he told us that he wanted every one of our 60-odd members to say at least one line before leaving. After a massive circle-reading of Sonnet 29, he asked us to come up in our groups and perform it for the rest of the room. One brave volunteer then read the entire sonnet to the class, and the session ended with Crystal stressing once more the need for everybody to experience performing Shakespeare — to “get the words off of the page and into [our] mouths.”