26 Shining Light: Kit Lawrence – States of Mind

Make use of time, let not advantage slip
Beauty within itself should not be wasted.

Christopher has
warm eyes
calm voice
Arrived at the Zoom call before me
camera on, mic on.
My soundtrack is crashing waves at 10pm
West Coast of New Zealand far from home
Shakespere’s home, Chris’ home.

The unfamiliar disintegrating with sharing stories.
His North London I know
but have to be reminded
which stop on the Northern Line he is to be found.
Though my internal A-Z failed me
my sense memory of Autumn in England remains.
Despite living here 16 years
my state of mind
is always on London time
and he reminds me of what I miss.
So, tell me from the beginning… 

Sometimes he trots, as if he told the steps,
With gentle majesty and modest pride.

I question with such troubling imagery on the page
what was going on in 1593
beyond a grave pandemic
to make Venus and Adonis a smash hit?
Trigger warning:
We are dealing in consent and none of it.
It will linger a while too long in your head
It’s black and white and red.

As we Zoom I marvel at the recall an actor requires for 1,000 lines of pretty strong stuff.To bring these words alive as they are now, bouncing off satellites and dragged through modems, into my room from London, read intensely, red with intensity. So hard on the page to read at first, easy to listen to now.It takes training, sure, but you don’t need to be part of a Shakespeare appreciation cult to love:
He saith she is immodest, blames her miss;
What follows more she murders with a kiss.

428 years after Venus and Adonis was first published Chris is explaining Shakespearean imagery. How the audience would know then details we’ve lost. He’s got his job cut out but Shakespeare has left him more than enough cloth to use. I find myself becoming a big Shakespeare fan. A big Chris fan.

At the time of talking, Adonis is yet to be cast. Right now an actor is walking down the road, making breakfast, talking to a friend, waiting on an Uber. Not knowing that at a certain time not of his choosing he will walk into a room and be cast as Adonis.
And Venus is waiting for him.
And Venus, how do we judge her? Let me know, as they say, in the comments below. Sometimes while we are talking I am thinking of my grandma and all the time I spent with her, walking around, guiding her, she guiding me, and picking up insights into her blind world.

Chris’s ambition and dedication to this play snap me back into the present day and I am fascinated by where it takes me. There may be no choices left for Shakespeare’sVenus and Adonis to make, but in States of Mind we can see what might have been. The reflection that is being returned in this particular mirror might not be one to to fall in love with. But should we really look away?

Kit Lawrence


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