Posts Tagged ‘Romeo and Juliet’

Romeo, Romeo, where for art thou Romeo?

In Singapore – and his real name is Hansel Tan.

Yes, last week we went to see a local production of Romeo and Juliet directed by Ivan Heng for the local Wild Rice theatre company.

Juliet’s real name is Julie Wee, also a local, although, from her list of credits she appears to have trained at Melbourne’s Victorian College of the Arts Drama School.

The two star-crossed lovers acquitted themselves splendidly – their passion only marred by the titters of some of the audience members who should have been home watching Playschool.

I especially enjoyed the balcony scene, which was whimsical and delightful. It was no surprise to read that this was Julie Wee’s favourite scene, too, according to the program notes.

Juliet’s nurse was also a gem, played by Neo Swee Lin, who carried an orange candy-striped umbrella, as well as a fan, when she went to meet Romeo on Juliet’s behalf.

And Benvolio and Mercurtio drank young coconut juice through straws as they whinged about Romeo having given them the slip at the Capulet party – giving the show a local flavour.

These days, it seems, the population of fair Verona is mostly of Asian descent, but speaking in accents that would have made Henry Higgins proud, with narry a “lah” to be found.

But there was nothing pompous or false about this interpretation, which was so authentic that at times I forgot they were using Shakespearian English.

In the program, vocal coach Nora Samosir, writes:  “To ‘suit the action to the word, the word to the action’, is not merely to gesture or move appropriately, but mind and body must work together to voice the word suitably.”

In this regard, the actors were spot on.

However, it was also delivered with a lot of authentic saliva, especially from the blokes.

It seems Shakespearean tongue twisters give the saliva ducts a good work out, as from the prologue onwards came sprays of spit that seemed to increase as the show progressed, visible against the mostly black background and dark raked stage.

I was glad I wasn’t in the front row.

The sprays were accompanied by snores from the large woman sitting next to me, whose extraordinarily large head kept lolling forwards and sideways as she dreamed on, perhaps of Mercutio’s Queen Mab?

When she did manage to open her eyes, she played with her phone, despite a request at the start of the show that all audience members refrain from doing so.

Ahh, theatre audiences ain’t what they used to be.

Back in Melbourne some years ago, I attended a memorable performance of Miss Siagon, made  more memorable by the people behind us who discussed the footy all the way through and then had the temerity to tap me on the shoulder and ask me to sit back when I leaned forward in my seat for a better view.

These days, it seems that theatres everywhere are full of people who have the money, but not the manners.

It is shame that they don’t heed the prologue of Romeo and Juliet and “with patient ears attend”.

However, there are those who attend with patient ears, but who still struggle to stay awake.

Like Rob.

“What do you think?” I asked, my cheeks feverish with excitement, as we emerged from Romeo and Juliet at  at interval.

“S’okay,” he replied, tucking into his second chocolate bar.

I was surprised. After all, there was blood, and fighting and sex.

The following night we ended up at Ion Orchard for Rob’s favorite food: Japanese. But there was no leisurely lingering afterwards.

“I thought we were going to look at the shops after this,” I panted, waddling behind as he belted along Orchard Rd.

“My show’s on at eight,” he replied.

“What show?” I asked, now having lost all hope of stopping for ice cream.

Game of Thrones.”

For the unitiated, Game of Thrones is also about feuding families and also includes a lot of blood, fighting and sex.

And just like in Romeo and Juliet, most of the decisions are made by men, with women merely chattels and incubators.

As one brawny and mean-looking brute says to his wife. “You were nothing until I squirted my son into you.”

Call me old fashioned, but I like it better as poetry.

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