Sonnet Play

by William Shakespeare

created and adapted by Brian Myers Cooper


"relentlessly intimate"

Sonnet Play weaves more than 40 of Shakespeare’s sonnets into a modern tale of infatuation, love, betrayal, infidelity, and forgiveness, proving that the human heart has not changed in the 400 years since Shakespeare penned his famous sequence. Presented in an ultra-intimate style, Sonnet Play takes the audience on an personal journey of the heart told in a modern context. The story is clear and relevant to modern ears, and audience members serve as privileged confidantes rather than passive onlookers. During one talk back, one patron called the experience “Relentlessly intimate!” Indeed, the Sonnets’ through line of exploring the basic human need for connection is brought to startling life as Mr. Cooper creates a connection with each audience member throughout the performance. The result is a powerful piece of theatre that leaves audiences marveling at the raw emotional force of these eternal poems.

(55-minute performance followed by optional audience Q & A)

Technical Requirements:

Sonnet Play works best in the round, or in three-quarter thrust theaters. Actual playing area required can be as small at 10’ x 15’, preferably with audience seating all around the playing area. Alternative spaces work VERY well: dance and rehearsal studios are ideal (Sonnet Play was originally conceived for such a space), so long as the room is windowless, or the windows can be completely blocked to achieve a true blackout.

Lighting requirements are minimal and can be as simple as normal overhead room lighting that can be turned on and off on cue.

Other physical requirements: a bench (a standard black piano bench or two rehearsal boxes work fine); a large stationary, full-length wall mirror, measuring at least 6’ across. Depending on the playing space, a suitably sized amplified speaker may be needed for sound cues run from a computer.

A Stage Manager is required to perform the show; I can train a qualified local stage manager if necessary.


Sonnet Play

© 2015 Brian Myers Cooper

Brian Myers Cooper is an actor, writer, director, dramaturg, and acting coach. Most recently he created Sonnet Play, told entirely using Shakespeare’s sonnets, which he developed with the acclaimed Bedlam Theatre Company's MadLAB! residency, and has performed in NYC and San Francisco. Follow his journey as he memorizes all 154 of Shakespeare's sonnets, and get tips and tricks on how you can start your own journey! He served as dramaturge for two plays in the 2016 NY Fringe Festival. Favorite acting roles include Pastor Paul in The Christians, Gillette in The Game's Afoot, Miss Saigon (2nd Nat’l.), Galileo (Moisés Kaufman, dir.), Romance, Romance! (Alfred/Sam - Lauren Kennedy, dir), James Baldwin's Blues for Mr. Charlie (Parnel), End of the World Party (original Off-Broadway cast)and the American premier of Billy Roche’s The Cavalcaders (Florida Stage). A longtime labor advocate, he is a trustee of the Equity-League Pension & Health Trust Funds, and served for twelve years on the national Council of Actor’s Equity Association. You'll find dozens of his recipes at