Tuesday Poem: Sigh No More, by William Shakespeare, Performed by Maurissa Tancharoen and Jed Whedon

I’m looking forward to the Joss Whedon film of “Much Ado About Nothing” which has just been released in NZ and the UK, opens in Australia in July, and will form part of the upcoming NZ Film Festival and then (I hope) get a theatrical release here.

I loved the 1993 Kenneth Branagh/Emma Thompson version, but from what I’ve heard, Joss Whedon’s version, with Amy Acker (pictured in the video) and Alexis Denisof as Beatrice and Benedick, makes sure to shine a light on the other characters who tend to get shoved aside by the Beatrice/Benedick story: and thereby darkens the narrative, because the story of Hero and Claudio is framed to address “slut-shaming” that’s all too contemporary.

Here is Maurissa Tancharoen singing “Sign No More” from the new film, and Shakespeare’s words below. It helps to know that ‘nothing’ was Elizabethan slang for ‘vagina’, which also puts Benedick’s name in perspective.

The poem:

Sigh no more, ladies, sigh no more.
    Men were deceivers ever,
One foot in sea, and one on shore,
    To one thing constant never.
Then sigh not so, but let them go,
    And be you blithe and bonny,
Converting all your sounds of woe
    Into hey nonny, nonny.

Sigh no more ditties, sing no more
    Of dumps so dull and heavy.
The fraud of men was ever so
    Since summer first was leafy.
Then sigh not so, but let them go,
    And be you blithe and bonny,
Converting all your sounds of woe
    Into hey, nonny, nonny.

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