Simon Godwin’s path is tactile, obsessive about arms and the methods an open-palmed welcome, a single-finger caress, the taut-knuckled hardness of a fist can signify romance, or violence, or each.
The confidential assembly of the lovers in the tussle of our bodies at the Capulet shindig, the hesitant first contact of their fingers and, later, the pressing consummation — none of that is shocking. Neither is it risqué.
And but, to me, it felt alarming — pornographic even — given how we have now spent the final 12 months painfully conscious of what threats proximity might breed.
Last spring NYC Health launched a much-mocked guide to safe sex during the pandemic, encouraging masturbation as the most Covid-friendly various to, in Shakespearean phrases, sheathing one’s dagger. No extra sweaty tangling of limbs in a darkish bar, no extra post-date kiss on the sidewalk exterior a restaurant. Or at the least not with out threat.
Even as extra of us get vaccinated, intimacy will probably really feel like a contemporary journey, for good and for dangerous. Some singles are rising from their quarantine bubbles anticipating a “hot vax summer” of sexy hookups and experimental exploits. Others are circumspect, our social abilities atrophied and our inhibitions elevated in response to a deadly illness.
For the subsequent a number of months, as we get well from a sort of intimacy-deprived PTSD, Shakespeare’s sexiest play — a play that hyperlinks lust to violence, even loss of life — could learn as excessive, even subtly subversive.
That’s the magic of the Bard, isn’t it? Racy sufficient for reprobates and rakes, or priggishly learn by a congregation of stately stiff-backs, the work is spacious sufficient to accommodate any disposition. I is perhaps too shy to subscribe to Romeo and Juliet’s steamy OnlyFans, however, hey, there are lots on the market who aren’t.