‘Bloody Poetry’ examines lives, loves of literary legendsWritten by John Dorsey | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Bowling Green State University has recently become a hotbed for free love and radical politics. I’m not talking about the return of the 1960s, but the university’s production of Howard Brenton’s renowned play “Bloody Poetry.” The show, which examines the lives and loves of romantic literary figures Lord Byron, Claire Clairemont, Percy Bysshe Shelley and Mary Shelley, is set to open in the Joe E. Brown Theatre, located in University Hall, on Feb. 17.
The production features Cassie Guion as Mary Shelley, Jeffrey Sneed as Percy Bysshe Shelley, Kendra Jo Brook as Claire Clairemont, Brent Winzek as Lord Byron, Kerbie Minor as Harriet Westbrook, and JD Caudill as Dr. William Polidori. Jonathan Chambers is directing.
For Chambers, this production is more than a labor of love; it’s the culmination of a romance that has been brewing for decades.
“I first became aware of the piece in grad school, nearly 20 years ago. The thing that first struck me about it was that these figures were flesh and blood, they had vitality,” Chambers said. “The thing that has hit me recently is just how young they were, which didn’t seem like such a big deal when I first read the play, perhaps because I was younger then myself. I have also become more aware of just how much Mary Shelley changes throughout the play.”
Chambers, who is currently an associate professor in the Department of Theatre and Film, has taught at BGSU for 10 years, covering subjects such as criticism and theory, and acting. He received his M.F.A. from Virginia Commonwealth University and a doctorate from Southern Illinois University. Past directing credits include “Quiet in the Land,” “Polaroid Stories” and “The Importance of Being Ernest,” to name a few.
“I think the most interesting thing about this piece is the juxtaposition between these people’s ideals and their truly deplorable actions. It looks at the limits of poetry and asks the question, what does it mean to live a life of love and freedom? I’m not sure that they really succeed, but it is compelling to watch them try. The play offers a really nice discussion that speaks to anyone.”
“Bloody Poetry” runs Feb. 17 through 19 at 8 p.m. and Feb. 19 and 20 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $12 for adults and $9 for students and seniors. Ticket purchases made on the day of the show include a $3 surcharge.
For more information, call (419) 372-2719 or visit www.bgsu.edu.