* NEW NAC-AEP theatre performance 2017
Romeo & Juliet - Open Rehearsal
Entertaining and Dramatic, Melodrama in all Seriousness.
Dissecting Romeo and Juliet, no knives involved.
An interactive performance-lecture style performance that enables the performers to directly address the students’ fear of Shakespearean text as well as provide tips for approaching the text.
A - Shakespearean purist who believes the text must be followed precisely.
B - Middle of the road character. He understands the Shakespearean language well, but also understands that it may not be readily accessible.
C - Shakespeare rebel who believes Shakespearean language is too difficult, outdated and pointless to study.
A and B begin the scene rehearsing as Juliet and Romeo in Act II Scene 2, the “balcony” scene of Romeo and Juliet. A plays the scene very seriously. The performance is stilted until C begins to interject their lines with his own words, played with a lot of emotion. Actors A and B decide to continue on. Emotive music is then added, making the performance jarring and melodramatic, until A gets annoyed and calls for the rehearsal to be stopped.
C enters and remarks that their performance was boring and inaccessible, and challenges A and B to experiment with a version that is easy to understand.
A and B oblige, but before they begin, for the sake of audiences who may be unfamiliar with the play, they decide to tell the story of Romeo and Juliet in 5 minutes. In this fast-paced section, the 3 actors narrate and act out the play from Act I till Act II Scene 2, in a variety of styles including multiple costume changes and puppetry, and also giving pointers on how to remember the more difficult names and terms in the process.
They have a short discussion about their performance and how they felt and they begin the Singapore-English version.
It proves popular with the students, but Juliet is disappointed that beauty and craft of Shakespeare’s text had been lost in the translation.
They have a discussion about relationships between poetic and vernacular languages, craft and accessibility - towards clarity in the the necessity and benefits of studying the original text.
They conclude that while the Shakespearean language may be difficult for access, but with patience, audiences can fully understand, enjoy and appreciate the story and craft.
This performance ends with a performance of Scene II Act 2 in its original language. The cast, having acquired a better understanding of the text, and turns in a emotive and stellar performance.
A) Through the process of this performance that lets the audience watch a well- known Shakespearean scene acted out through different versions - one adhering strictly to the text and others including a local-vernacular adaptation, rap and musical versions with bits of over-the-top melodrama, the students are provided with alternative perspectives to visualise their own Shakespearean play.
B) This performance will also discuss the differences and virtues of each, the relationship between a story and its language, and address the benefits and necessity of studying Shakespearean text in their original unabridged form.
C) This performance aims to provide audiences with a stepping-stone to approach the language and suggestions to better understand the text.
D) To make theatre performances accessible to students by bringing live performances to the schools’ venues, hence bringing forth a more vibrant arts and cultural injection.
E) To incorporate elements of contemporary elements, dance and humour to facilitate accessibility of Shakespeare’s work to young audiences.