This weekend, the Quintessence Theatre Group of Mount Airy presents a recitation of Shakespeare's "Venus and Adonis," a poetic dialogue in which Venus beckons the young huntsman to consummate their affair. Adonis demurs, raising the tension in what is considered Shakespeare's most erotic poem.
Actors will play the couple and narrator, making this more of a full-bodied theatrical piece. In keeping with Elizabethan tradition, there are no sets, the better to emphasize the language and actors. Quintessence aims to present great works of the past through a contemporary point of view, so the actors' costumes will be modern. They will speak, however, in proper Shakespearean verse and pentameter. "It is like hearing a phenomenal singer sing a song you already know," Quintessence artistic director Alex Burns said. Before the play, the actors will recite several Shakespearean sonnets to "warm up" the audience to the language.