For the past seven years or so, these men and women have staged Shakespeare’s plays, albeit with a noticeable difference. Instead of employing magnificent props and elaborate costumes, they use bare-boned means to convey his stories – cardboard boxes, plain dolls, and basic attire are regulars on the set. The minimalistic take is intriguing, and the play is not stricken for the lack of visual grandeur. The narrative itself is articulated in a fashion that makes it accessible to students and those who are not too familiar with Shakespeare’s writings; but crucially, it doesn’t detract from the purity of the celebrated playwright’s rich lexicon nor the intricacy of his plays. A wholesome Shakespearean experience is what the audience receives.
Showgoers, especially schoolchildren, are commonly encouraged to dive right into the story and enliven the show, gesturing along with the actors or conversing with them. It’s a seamless affair, as the gathered crowd sit so closely to the stage, while the actors’ passionate performance and genuine affability make for an effective form of persuasion.
Having travelled across the country to dish out their renditions of Macbeth, Othello, The Merchant of Venice and the like, the KL Shakespeare Players are much in demand, with tickets to their shows snapped up hurriedly on routine. Wherefore art thou, Romeo?
Their theatre offering for this month is none other than the iconic tragedy depicting a forbidden love. Starring a man from the House of Montague and his sweetheart from the House of Capulet, it’s one of Shakespeare’s more popular efforts, Romeo and Juliet.
Directed by Lim Kien Lee, the play sees capable actors Lim Soon Heng, Ivan Chan, Safia Hanifa, Hana Nadira, Ali Alasri and Phraveen Arikiah taking up mainstay roles, transporting beholders to a centuries-ago Verona, Italy as the poignant tale unfolds before them.
With its unorthodox disposition and delivery, this portrayal of Romeo and Juliet is certainly one to soak up in person!
Shakespeare Demystified: Romeo and Juliet
WHERE Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre (klpac), Kuala Lumpur
WHEN 8.30pm (24-28 April), 3pm (28-29 April)
ADMISSION RM55, RM45 (student)
TEL 03 4047 9000