Southampton's Art House continues to find ways to share entertainment and this week offered After Shakespeare, a quartet of monologues created and performed by Lexi Wolfe. Weighing in at 2½ hours zoom-time this was quite a heavyweight session but raised intriguing questions about the bard's plays: what was Hamlet's relationship with Laertes? Why was Lady Macbeth so avid to see Duncan dead? How did Portia really feel when her betrothed failed to recognise her in barrister's disguise? Was HenryV heroically brave, or pathologically vicious?
Taking tiny clues and clearly with intensive research as well as imaginative intuition, Lexi explored these and other depths, creating a sense of interactive listening without too much of the 'what's that I hear you ask?' device. Setting the four characters does take some time, but the reveries are all provocative & interesting. Here's Portia, the chat-line's favourite. The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams, inspired by the discovery that the word 'bondmaid' was discarded by the compilers of the first dictionary, and Jackie Polzin's debut novel Brood emerged as fiction front-runners.
On a more upbeat note: last week's sunshine allowed more walks along paths where the green carpet of wild garlic leaves will soon be a forest of white blossom: in the meantime, there are violets and celandine, wood anemones and primroses - and the first bluebells are already showing. so I'll end with that happier thought as we edge gingerly towards the first steps of what we once called normality.