Newsletter: 2020 2nd Quarter

Welcome and wash your hands  

Before anything else, a serious reminder to wash your hands for twenty seconds. The times demand that we wash out this damned virus; you don’t have to be Lady Macbeth or Pilate to do so. And don't touch your face!

Together, we have to stop the spread of this virus.

What we've been doing during the MCO  

The first quarter of 2020 gave us all a great shaking. The immediate future is uncertain, but we're not for resting on our laurels. We continue to plan and develop our ideas until such time we can meet again.

One project that we kept working on, till just before March 18, was A Tale of Star-Crossed Lovers. This was a collaborative adaptation, with Nyoba Kan Butoh, of Romeo and Juliet that we first presented at the 2018 KL Butoh Festival. We were to take it to Milan in May to participate in the 11th international competition organized by Spazio Teatro No’hma Teresa Pomodoro.

Of course, the circumstances meant this trip was no longer possible. When Milan went into a lockdown, the organizers proposed that we live-stream our performances. This led to a whole host of other complications: the venue, camera rental, and crew, plus our inability to meet and perform in the first place! At the time of writing this, however, we are still committed to a video shoot sometime in the first full week of May.

We've also been busy online: conducting one-on-one writing sessions with secondary school students in KL and Kelantan, as well as responding to drama students in an international school working on their own production of A Midsummmer Night’s Dream. We answered their questions in a ping-pong of online conversations about our staging (they watched our show in klpac), the play itself, and theatre conventions.

Coming up this week, we will be providing feedback to students from another international school who will perform online monologues and duologues as part of their drama coursework.

If you are interested in any such engagements, do let us know. KL Shakespeare Players is a theatre-in-education company.

What's next?  

We are putting together our Storytelling: Sang Kancil, targeted at 6 year-olds and above to open later in September.
The production will predominantly be in English, but will maintain key Malay phrases such as greetings, names, and sayings. It will be told in a modern and fun-filled way while maintaining links to our culture and traditions. It will be a highly physical show and we are looking to include traditional art forms such as zapin, dikir barat, wayang kulit and maybe even some ghazal and local songs.

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2020 so far  

Of course, you knew that Shakespeare Demystified: A Midsummer Night’s Dream opened in February. And with quite a bang. 

At the time of writing, we have delighted more than 2,000 people in theatres and schools across Penang and KL with our version of the tale of a ‘love-quadrangle’, fairy hijinks, and a man with an ass’s head.

Beyond this new production, we also performed our Storytelling: Shakespeare's The Tempest and Storytelling: Romeo & Juliet for primary schools, our Exchange Theatre for corporations; and ran several workshops for schools and teacher-trainees in our Institut Pendidikan Guru. 

Then March stomped over us like Stormtroopers looking for Princess Leia. Nevertheless, we're trying to make the most of this opportunity to breathe, reflect, and plan for the future.

From all of us at KL Shakespeare Players--the cast and crew of A Midsummer Night’s Dream--we wish you the best of health, and look forward to seeing you soon once things are back to normal.
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