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Home :: Archive :: 2002 :: September ::
Passion in Pieces
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.1918  Wednesday, 18 September 2002

From:           Sam Small <
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 >
Date:           Tuesday, 17 Sep 2002 22:11:22 +0100
Subject:        Passion in Pieces

I gratefully take up Thomas Larque's invitation to speak a little about
my sonnet project as there is some news that fellow list members might
find of some interest.

In 1998 an American poet friend of mine - a full blood Indian, as it
happens - sent me Sonnet 116 by email.  Now I had looked at the Sonnets
and found them inscrutable.  Perhaps it was the act of reading on a
computer monitor, but somehow it all became clear.  Further dipping into
the series lit up several other lights and I soon had in my grasp John
Kerrigan's Sonnet collection (Penguin) and read it from cover to cover.

The idea of making short films based on each sonnet almost invented
itself as I thought of similar modern relationships - so I contacted two
actor friends Tim Block and Laura Whittard.  They were up for the leads
parts so I managed to get TV and film photographer Clive Gill for a
cheap day - and in the summer of 1999 off we went to Dino's Restaurant
in South Kensington, London to shoot Sonnet 138.  I wanted the visuals
to be very understated - just two people chatting in a restaurant but
with obvious erotic overtones.  I had Tim with a blue shirt and Laura
with a pink top - character identification with colour was the idea.
Tim's make up was light - anti-shine basically - but Laura's was quite
heavy to give the impression of a girl on the make, but with class.  Now
I am a man of ruthless preparation in shooting, but Clive and I just had
to film and wait for something to happen - with a little prompting.  We
got lots of footage which helped no end with the editing.

Editing film is a hard won art.  It has taken me well over two years of
part time labour to get it half right but I think what I have now is
pretty near.  I listened avidly to friends who would pop round to see
the latest edit and incorporated many of their suggestions.  I have no
shame in that - it's what directing is all about, in my view.

The soundtrack proved more problematical.  I had had several positive
ideas about how the reading should sound.  The image I had was of the
ghost of the Bard leaning in a dark corner of the room watching the same
relationship unfold before his eyes that he suffered all those years
ago.  I tried reading the thing myself with that in mind and people
seemed to like it.  I kept my southern English vowel sounds but was very
particular about sounding every consonant.  I paid little heed to the
meter - but a lot to the punctuation.  I believe that the when you speak
Shakespeare's poetry your voice changes.  It is the sound (if you let
it) of your soul resonating through your mouth.  A natural rhythm comes
from that, in my view, and not a slavish adherence to five iambs per
line.  But in any case, people will be the judge.  The music is by a
wonderful guitar musician called Piers Partridge.
Earlier this year I was surfing the net looking for a way to promote the
project when I discovered the constant stream of world wide film
festivals.  New Orleans caught my eye as I had spent a day there last
November.  I entered and I am pleased to report that Passion in Pieces
(three sonnet films) has been selected to be shown in the festival week
during October 10 - 17.  They had over 500 entries world-wide and only
70 were chosen.  It will actually be screened on Wednesday 16 of October
at 7pm in the Contemporary Arts Center, New Orleans.  I have no idea
what could happen or what will happen - but I have everything crossed.

If Hardy would allow a beg?  I would dearly love to be at the Festival
week but it would cost more than I could afford - New Orleans is not a
cheap city.  If there were any charitable list members living in New
Orleans or very nearby that would allow me to crash on their
sofa/kitchen/dog kennel then I might be able to blag a discount plane
ticket and be able to come.  I am clean and reliable and occasionally
reasonable company and would be able to get you into some of the
after-screen parties which go on through the week.  I am eminently
contactable off-list.

My email address

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The New Orleans Film Festival
http://www.neworleansfilmfest.com

The In Competition list - (look under 'P')
http://www.neworleansfilmfest.com/films_2002.html

Passion in Pieces promotional site
http://www.passioninpieces.co.uk

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