As a literature student for most of my life, I would be one of the first people to tell you that Shakespeare is not a walk in the park. It’s old English with metaphors and morals from literal centuries ago tossed in with some lines that go on and on for what seems like ever. It would have been nice if someone, oh I don’t know, demystified Romeo and Juliet for me.
Enter: The Kuala Lumpur Shakespeare Players (KLSP), whose personal mission is to “take Shakespeare to every state in Malaysia, and eventually to all countries in Southeast Asia.”
Shakespeare Demystified, which is currently being staged at KLPAC until the 29th of April and also will be staged in PenangPAC from the 3 – 6 May, will also head down to Johor!
From the 11-12 May at Jade Restaurant in Greenland Danga Bay, Johor, they will be taking their traditional performance format to perhaps Shakespeare’s most popular play, Romeo and Juliet. Audiences will be able to catch it at KLPAC and PenangPAC before the troupe begins travelling to Johor. Now, you will get to witness key scenes like the couple’s first meeting in Juliet’s garden and their tragic murder-suicide, but more comprehensible to Malaysian audiences who aren’t so familiar with the Bard’s melodramatic style. Shakespeare Demystified is renowned for conducting Shakespeare’s plays in a more instructional way, accessible to younger audiences and those less fluent in the playwright’s dry language. The Shakespeare Player’s previous performances like Macbeth are particularly lauded for its distinct minimalism, stripping away overly done costumes and intricate props for just the strength of the actor’s performance, each fabric or furniture on stage a key symbol for the scene itself.
Staying true to the Shakespeare Demystified art of storytelling, the cast will be performing the canonical speeches and scenes from the play with a narration of the plot and a discussion of the themes present in each scene. It’s an interactive conversation between the cast and the audience members, as viewers are invited to participate in an active Q&A session. For those who are put off by the heavy English in Shakespeare’s plays or just feel like you might not understand everything the actors say, don’t fret! The scenes will be performed in Shakespeare’s words but are pieced together with contemporary English and quite a bit of our own mother tongues, so that it becomes a coherent whole for literally anyone to understand. Finally, a chance for us to finally understand what ‘prolixity’ and ‘lineament’ means.
Som for the price of RM63 for general audiences and RM42 for students, you’ll be able to comprehend and actually enjoy one of William Shakespeare’s prominent works the way it resonated with audiences from centuries ago. With stellar storytelling, prominent actors who are sure to be performing their hearts out and an easy and interactive translation nearby, there really shouldn’t be anything stopping you from watching Shakespeare Demystified: Romeo and Juliet.
*online tickets are available at bit.ly/sdrnjjb
For more awesome events in the Johor scene, check out jspa.org.my