Called There Reigns Love, the one-man show was commissioned by the Stratford Festival for the 2008 season and will be staged at the Tom Patterson Theatre, which boasts a long thrust stage. Michael Langham, the festival's artistic director from 1956-67, will direct the production.
According to the Stratford, Ontario company, "Working from Shakespeare's text and the theories of distinguished British psychoanalyst John Padel, Mr. Callow will present the story he sees buried in the 154 poems by our greatest writer."
Callow said in a statement, "Shakespeare's Sonnets are the sphinx of English literature. Every poem in the collection seems to speak of some intensely lived experience, but there is no logical emotional or intellectual coherence to them. John Padel's theory remains highly controversial, but what it does to thrilling effect is to liberate the poems' meaning, laying bare an unparalleled history of obsessive love, perhaps the greatest account in literature of the devastating course of Eros."
"Simon Callow is one of the giants of the classical stage," stated Stratford co-artistic director Don Shipley. "We are incredibly fortunate to have him with us in our inaugural season. He is a highly respected Shakespearean actor, but excels in all forms of classical and contemporary theatre. He is also a highly sought after film and television actor well known to audiences for his roles in the films 'Four Weddings and a Funeral' and 'Shakespeare in Love.'"