Denver Sonnets Project, No. 78: Erica Lee Johnson
By John Moore
CultureWest.Org is endeavoring to make short films out of all 154 of Shakespeare’s sonnets, each featuring actors with Colorado connections. The artistic intent is primarily to further CultureWest’s mission to spotlight the local theatre community and their current or upcoming productions. It’s also an attempt to promote Shakespeare education in a fun way. This is an entirely volunteer project with a proud budget of … zero dollars.
We are rolling out new Sonnet videos … well, as soon as they are completed and turned in. Here’s a link to the YouTube playlist that hosts the entire series.
For Sonnet 78, actor Erica Lee Johnson takes us all the way to West Java, Indonesia, where she serves as a Peace Corps volunteer. Here, in this enlightening and heartfelt video, Johnson shows us how she uses John Lennon, a ukulele and the universal language of Shakespeare to teach Sonnet 78.
Scholars believe that in this sonnet, Shakespeare has been hurt by the source of his poetic inspiration. That other contemporaries have adopted his poetic style and honed in on his muse. Here, Erica’s interpretation seems much more an ode from teacher to students and back again. For surely just as she has opened their eyes to new worlds, so too have they for her. Communally they allow the educated to soar even higher, and enhance the gracefulness of the already graceful. Unlike the narrator of Shakespeare’s sonnet, there is no shortage of inspiration in this small classroom outside of Jakarta.
Johnson’s remarkable DIY film includes contributions from a choreographer, three cinematographers and a cast of 24 Indonesian locals. It’s longer than our previous Sonnet film entries – and worth every second.
Johnson is a graduate of Littleton High School and Metro State University. Recent acting credits include Miners Alley Playhouse’s “Present Laughter” and “Wonder of the World,” as well as And Toto Too’s “The Greater Good.”
The Denver Sonnets Project is an ongoing public art project, open to a variety of actors and filmmakers. Each new short sonnet film is posted here first. The project is an endeavor to call attention to the work of the Denver Actors Fund. Learn more at www.DenverActorsFund.Org.
Video series by John Moore. For those of you who have signed up for a sonnet, please keep them coming!
The Denver Sonnets Project is a volunteer collaboration, with limited eligibility requirements for participation. For information on how to register for a future episode, email your interest to John Moore at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Completed episodes to date (in numeric order):
Sonnet 78: Erica Lee Johnson: “So oft have I invoked thee for my muse” …
Please consider supporting the Denver Actors Fund at www.DenverActorsFund.Org