As part of the College of Charleston’s annual Shakespeare Project, Love’s Fire
set the bar high for future shows. It was dark when we walked into the Chapel Theatre to see the anthology. Until our eyes adjusted to the light we didn’t see the young men and women dressed in their underwear, posing on stage or slinking around the wings. This was only the beginning of Jamie Smithson and Paul Whitty’s successful attempt to spice up Shakespeare’s sonnets with a cast of confident actors. The two directors accentuated fiery passion in these adaptations by contemporary playwrights, including Eric Bogosian and Ntozake Shange. Sonnet 118 was transformed into Bitter Sauce. Numbers 153 and 154 became the much sexier-sounding General of Hot Desire, a spectacular deconstruction of theater production. With six very different vignettes, Smithson and Whitty created a surprisingly sensuous, multicultural experience.