Be­yond Shake­speare

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - ARTS - By DI­NESH KU­MAR MAGANATHAN star2@ thes­tar. com. my

EVER won­dered what hap­pens to some of Shake­speare’s char­ac­ters af­ter a play ends? What about the Bard him­self and his se­cret love life? What if some­one were to hold a seance and sum­mon the Bard’s spirit for a lit­tle chat?

If this was an off­beat play, it al­ready has all the qual­i­ties of a Shake­spearean pro­duc­tion with a twist to it.

Tonight at KL­Pac, seven home­grown direc­tors will present seven orig­i­nal shorts which ex­plores just that – the play­ful side of the Bard.

The show called Don’t Let Shake­speare Know ( DLSK) will play at Pen­tas 2 till April 3.

The seven short plays, 10 min­utes each, range from an in­ter­view with Shake­speare’s spirit, con­jured via a tra­di­tional Chi­nese rit­ual, the fa­mous bal­cony scene from Romeo And Juliet ( set in Kuala Lumpur) right to poor ol’ Mac­beth des­per­ately seek­ing jus­tice.

In this The Ac­tors Stu­dio Seni Teater Rakyat’s 2016 Shake­speare Festival pre­sen­ta­tion, the direc­tors are Azov Sim, Easee Gan, Giant Liang, Ma­rina Tan, Mon Lim, Vin­cent Hau and Wil­liam Yap. All the scripts were writ­ten by the direc­tors.

“DSKL is a play­ground for seven direc­tors, and by ex­ten­sion oth­ers out there, in­spired by Shake­speare’s works. Peo­ple who want to ex­plore, stage and share their ideas,” says Tan, who will be di­rect­ing her­self in Mar­garet: She- Wolf Of France, Twice Queen Of Eng­land.

Tan, who was last seen in U- En Ng’s Mar­ble Hearts, be­lieves that Shake­speare’s works should be pushed be­yond the norm.

“The purists might have a prob­lem with it. A more ac­cu­rate ti­tle would prob­a­bly be Don’t Let The Purists Know but who would pay to come see that?” she adds cheek­ily.

Gan says that those familiar with the Bard’s works will ex­pe­ri­ence some­thing dif­fer­ent and be­lieves DLSK can act as in­tro­duc­tion to Shake­speare for those who are new to his works.

Gan’s play The Tem­pest will be per­formed in Man­darin and tells the story of Cal­iban, the main an­tag­o­nist in the orig­i­nal play, af­ter ev­ery­one has left the is­land.

Yap reck­ons that the whole premise of DLSK makes Shake­speare’s works more ac­ces­si­ble for the masses.

Yap will be di­rect­ing W( b) itches which sees Mac­beth ask­ing for jus­tice in hell as he thinks that his death is caused by the three witches.

“He wants to en­ter heaven, so he wants to con­vince the judge that the blame should be on the three witches,” says Yap, who played Ma Wa Liu in Sifu Pro­duc­tion’s Lo Mio And Chiu Liet: For­bid­den Love In For­bid­den City.

Un­like the tragedy that is Mac­beth, Yap’s play will be a com­edy per­formed in Man­darin with parts of the orig­i­nal Shake­spearean text.

With com­mem­o­ra­tions ga­lore to mark the 400th an­niver­sary of Shake­speare’s death on April 23, DLSK is a timely en­try point for new­bies to ex­pe­ri­ence the Bard’s lit­er­ary legacy. Give or take, a few ir­rev­er­ent twists. Don’t Let Shake­speare Know is on at Pen­tas 2, Kuala Lumpur Per­form­ing Arts Cen­tre ( KL­Pac), Sen­tul Park, Jalan Stra­chan, off Jalan Ipoh in Kuala Lumpur. Show­times are March 30- April 2 ( 8.30pm) and April 3 ( 3pm). Tick­ets are priced RM30 ( March 30), RM45 and RM35. For tick­et­ing in­for­ma­tion, con­tact 03- 4047 9000 or visit tick­et­pro. com. my. This is show is part of The Ac­tors Stu­dio Seni Teater Rakyat’s 2016 Shake­speare Festival.

Tan, one of the seven direc­tors of

Don’t Let Shake­speare Know, says the show is a play­ground to ex­plore and share ideas in­spired by shake­speare’s works. — CHAn TAK KOnG/ The star

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