For those who turn its pages, Venus and Adonis continues to offer the delights of humor and romance that beguiled readers and set it apart from other poetry of the late sixteenth century. Why, then, adapt it for the stage? As an actor and director of Shakespeare’s plays, I nurture a dedication to the spoken word, and this poem’s exhilarating verbal music begs to be heard.
Here is an opportunity to bring a work that enjoyed enormous popularity when it was written to a new audience that might not encounter it today. In dramatizing Venus and Adonis, I have attempted to capture the energy, humor and passion of the poem that Ted Hughes described as “a sumptuous, erotic Renaissance witticism” through an immediate participation in the imagined life of these mythic beings.