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date: 01 April 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter explores Volcano Theatre Company’s radical interpretation of Shakespeare’s Sonnets through their award-winning physical theater production, L.O.V.E. (1992). Drawing on literary analysis and sociological readings, the chapter considers current and historical perspectives on what many consider to be Shakespeare’s most intimate work, and notably the implications of the poetry’s homoerotic focus. The chapter then explores Volcano’s adaptation of this nontheatrical work into narratively driven performance material, focusing on analysis of the company’s choreographic and aesthetic responses to the textual stimulus. The author’s decade-long experience of performing in L.O.V.E. is augmented through interviews with key members of the production’s original cast and creative collaborators. Finally, the chapter reflects on the critical impact of L.O.V.E. through analysis of its cultural and political reception both in the United Kingdom and internationally.

Keywords: choreography, physical theater, Shakespeare, Sonnets, queer performance, Volcano Theatre Company

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