KL Shakespeare Players' staging of 'A Tale Of Star-Crossed Lovers' travels to Milan ... virtually


  • Arts
  • Thursday, 07 May 2020

Zul Zamir and Hana Nadira in the theatre show 'A Tale Of Star-Crossed Lovers'. You can watch it on Italy's Spazio Teatro No’hma Teresa Pomodoro’s Youtube channel. Photo: Joyce Leong

If you missed the Kuala Lumpur Shakespeare Players (KLSP) and Butoh dance company Nyoba Kan’s 2018 staging of A Tale Of Star-Crossed Lovers, you can now watch it for free online on Spazio Teatro No’hma Teresa Pomodoro’s Youtube channel.

It will be streaming on May 8 (3am local time), and made available online until July. This show is part of the Milan-based performing arts theatre’s 11th edition of International Prize: The Naked Theatre Of Teresa Pomodoro (International Prize) series.

The competition is open to artists worldwide with productions that extend beyond traditional forms of theatre. The winning production will receive funding to create a new show to be performed next year in Milan.

The Malaysian participants were supposed to fly to Milan this month to be part of the International Prize performances, but their Italian dream was cut short due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

A Tale Of Star-Crossed Lovers, which was first presented as part of the 2018 KL Butoh Fest in KL, merges William Shakespeare’s Romeo And Juliet and the story of Rama and Shinta from the Javanese version of the Indian epic The Ramayana.

Interestingly, this show does not offer a conventional or chronological retelling of both tales. Instead, it carries the stories through a weave of movements and an atmospheric soundscape.

Directed by Nyoba Kan’s Lee Swee Keong, the Romeo And Juliet part of the show features KLSP members Lim Soon Heng, Hana Nadira, Sandee Chew, Zul Zamir and Lim Kien Lee, who also serves as the dramaturg.

A Javanese dance by Indonesian artists Cahyo Sandhidea and Selvia Arbella is used to illustrate the tale of Rama and Shinta.

"Originally, Spazio proposed that KLSP undertake live-streaming on the competition days. The scramble then on our side was to find a live video-recording team, a venue, lights and sound crews,” says Soon Heng.

Indonesian dancers Cahyo (left) and Selvia will perform the tale of Rama and Shinta through a Javanese dance in 'A Tale Of Star-Crossed Lovers'. Photo: Joyce LeongIndonesian dancers Cahyo (left) and Selvia will perform the tale of Rama and Shinta through a Javanese dance in 'A Tale Of Star-Crossed Lovers'. Photo: Joyce Leong

After discussions on pandemic-era theatre proposals and limitations, the Italian organisers requested KLSP to submit a recording of the 2018 production instead.

Like numerous Malaysian theatre companies, the KLSP has been hit hard financially by the movement control order (MCO). All of its corporate training, workshops and shows under its Shakespeare Demystified and Storytelling programmes have either been cancelled or postponed.

To generate some form of income, the KLSP has launched an online interactive children's storytelling programme (ages 6 to 12) via platforms like Zoom and Google Meet.

A screenshot of KL Shakespeare Players' online storytelling workshop series for children.A screenshot of KL Shakespeare Players' online storytelling workshop series for children.

Using props, drawings and animation, the KLSP team introduces Shakespeare’s Macbeth, and other children's stories.

An upcoming collaboration series with Johor-based theatre company StageCraft Theatre Productions will take place on May 10, May 17, May 27 and May 31. It is a four-part 35-minute evening series (4.30pm). This online package costs RM75.

In these sessions, young participants will learn how to devise props, make puppets, pick up basic storytelling and movements.

For more details, visit the KLSP’s website or Facebook page or Spazio Teatro No’hma Teresa Pomodoro.
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