We have written about the KL Shakespeare Players (KLSP) Shakespeare Demystified series before on Penang Free Sheet. We love them! Designed to engage and enlighten school and university students, we find their interpretations of Shakespeare’s works both engaging and illuminating performances as adults too.
In their sixth consecutive year in Penang, KLSP are bringing one of the Bard’s best known plays, Romeo & Juliet, the sad story of young star-crossed lovers and their tragic end. Trapped by the feud between their families–the Montagues and the Capulets–their lives seem to tumble into an inevitable and ill-fated tragedy. Their unique 100-minute abridgement will peel back the layers of the play, unveiling the issues and motivations behind the characters’ actions.As always, the key scenes are performed in Shakespeare’s own words, but are placed in context and made comprehensible to a modern-day Malaysian audience with explanations of difficult words and important issues in the play made in contemporary English with a dash of Malaysia’s multi-lingual slang.
This year’s Shakespeare Demystified production also promises to include music and a more physical performance, driven by the practices and philosophy of physical theatre. As always, each performance will conclude with a question-and-answer session which allows the audience to ask questions, make comments and engage with the play and the actors.
A youthful cast will present the play, Hana Nadira, Ali Alasri, Safia Hanifa, Ivan Chan and Phraveen Arikiah. with Soon Heng playing the patriarchal roles. The production is directed by Lim Kien Lee.
Shakespeare Demystified: Romeo & Juliet will be performed at penangpac on May 3rd, 4th and 5th at 8.30pm, and on May 6th at 3pm. Tickets cost RM45, (RM35 student-concession) and can be purchased from the box office or at https://www.ticketpro.com.my/theatre/2256175-penangpac-Shakespeare-Demystified-Romeo-And-Juliet.html
About the KL Shakespeare Players
From an informal group which started in 2011, KLSP has incorporated and established itself as the only theatre company in Malaysia that focuses on Shakespeare’s works. Each year, KLSP draws a diverse audience to watch Shakespeare performed live. And it is done without running away from Shakespeare’s language.
KLSP’s 2017 production, Macbeth traveled to 15 locations, and performed 40 shows to over 6,000 pairs of eyes. Beyond Kuala Lumpur and Penang, KLSP has taken its shows to Langkawi, Ipoh, Kuala Kangsar, Nilai, Seremban, Johor Bahru, Kuching and Kota Kinabalu. In 2017, KLSP also presented six additional shows in a storytelling format to primary school students.
It is KLSP’s mission to take Shakespeare to every state in Malaysia, and eventually to all countries in Southeast Asia. This year, KLSP will be travelling to Manila, Philippines to perform and storytell Macbeth in three performances at the biannual conference of the Asian Shakespeare Association.
Besides its Shakespeare Demystified series, KLSP is active in providing trainings and workshops based on the concept of “Learning Through Shakespeare”. It works with students from universities, colleges, international and national schools, to increase their appreciation of the Bard, or to improve their communication skill, or to explore various stage crafts, all rooted in Shakespeare’s text and works.
In October last year, KLSP was engaged by the Ministry of Education to train English teachers from seven secondary schools how to teach Shakespeare.
To contribute to local theatre development, KLSP has begun to provide free training sessions to actors dedicated to honing their crafts. In 2017, KLSP brought in three international theatre practitioners, Simone Tani a mask-maker and mask-performer from Italy; Erika Tobolski, a voice coach from the University of South Carolina, USA; and most recently, David Glass, a physical theatre practitioner from the UK.