[Giveaway] Shakespeare in the Park – Romeo & Juliet

Win tickets and jio your Romeo or Juliet to watch Shakespeare’s most iconic play.

“O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo? Deny thy father and refuse thy name; or if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love and I’ll no longer be a Capulet. Shall I hear more, or shall I speak at this? ‘Tis but thy name that is my enemy: thou art thyself, though not a Montague.”
– Juliet to Romeo, Romeo & Juliet (William Shakespeare, 1591)

Oh the words of Shakespeare like fine wine. After last year’s hit play (The Tempest), the folks from Singapore Repertory Theatre are back with Romeo & Juliet, their 9th Shakespeare in the Park production. 2016 is also a special year as the world from all over over commemorate the 400th death anniversary of William Shakespeare, his life, works and contribution to literature.

Romeo & Juliet will be performed on the Fort Canning Park lawn and the public can purchase 7.30pm show tickets from 27 April to 22 May. Ticket prices start from S$40 (for information on ticket prices, click here). Remember to bring your own picnic mats, snacks, canapes and an umbrella for good measure.

The leading roles will be played by Thomas Pang (Tribes) and Cheryl Tan (Beauty World, Red Riding Hood). While I didn’t catch Tan in Beauty World as I was recovering from my surgery last year, Pang did a phenomenal job as a damaged and deaf individual in Tribes by Pangdemonium (my review here).

For the uninitiated, Romeo & Juliet tells of the tragic love story of two star-crossed lovers, Romeo and Juliet. Despite hailing from rivaling families, the two falls hopelessly in love with each other. But that love was not to be and ultimately ends in tragedy.

Isn’t it funny how we would invest time and money into something we used to hate? I remembered reading Romeo & Juliet for my literature studies back in high school and hating it so badly.

In any case, I have a pair of 5 May (7.30pm, Thursday) tickets worth S$116 to give away to my readers!

Here’s how to participate:

  1. Like this post on Facebook/Instagram

  2. This year is William Shakespeare’s __th death anniversary. Submit your answer in the comments.

Giveaway ends this Sunday at 11.59pm. The winner will be chosen at random and my decision is final. This is a golden opportunity to ask your Romeo / Juliet out, so don’t miss it!

Note: This giveaway is made possible by the good people from Singapore Repertory Theatre. I do not receive any monetary remuneration for this.

Shakespeare in the Park – Romeo and Juliet

Fort Canning Park

Opens 27 April to 22 May 2016

Brought to you by the company that has captivated thousands each year with its successful productions of The Tempest, The Merchant of Venice, Othello, Twelfth Night, Macbeth, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Much Ado About Nothing.

Spread your picnic blanket under the stars and relish in the greatest love story ever told – Romeo & Juliet.

Ticket Pricing: $40 – $85

Web Link: Shakespeare in the Park – Romeo and Juliet

Hello Goodbye: Safe And Predictable Romantic Comedy

Hello Goodbye proves that a man and woman should never be left alone in an apartment.

Singapore Repertory Theatre presents Hello Goodbye, the first romantic comedy staged in 15 years not since 2001’s Barefoot in the Park. The play will be staged at the DBS Arts Centre from 2 to 26 September 2015. Hello Goodbye is written by Peter Souter and directed by Lisa Spirling.

“Who the freezing fuck are you?” exclaimed the vulgar damsel upon discovery of a man in her supposed newly rented apartment. Gold 905 radio DJ Denise Tan plays outspoken and fiesty Juliet whose life is in a mess while heartthrob Shane Mardjuki plays introverted toy collector Alex whose life is about to become one.

PHOTO: SRT

PHOTO: SRT

Turns out, there has been a mistake on the side of the side of Juliet’s property agent, leaving her in distress. However, our heroine is not be outdone, exchanging snappy banter and witty one-liners in an attempt to lay claim on the apartment as her rightful birthright.

Despite being threatened that a beating by Juliet’s muscular boyfriend ensures should he not vacate the apartment, Alex doesn’t buy it. The two begins a narrative exposition where Juliet reveals she is in a crisis after being caught red-handed for a serious case of infidelity with her flatmate’s husband-to-be on the wedding day itself.

Temperatures rising as Juliet takes off her top and makes out (and proceeded onto you-know-what) with Alex who in an earlier moment, swore off being interested in the former. Fast forward by 10 years, the duo is filing for divorce. Old and new issues surfaced in one climatic scene that unsurprisingly does not derail the narrative which ends with a happily-ever-after.

A romantic comedy that runs on the typical Hollywood-prescribed formula, it’s difficult to dislike Hello Goodbye. But I’m not saying that it is the ‘Romantic Comedy Play of the year’. The dialogue overladen with witty banter and wordplay was well-thought-out and funny on many occasions. Eg. “The moment I drop my front (meaning her emotional barrier), you’ll want to see my front (meaning her chest).” Yet I find myself grasping for air – and for something different for a change – by the end of the first act.

PHOTO: SRT

PHOTO: SRT

Tan did a stellar job with Juliet but I would reckon that audiences find it hard to sympathise with the female protagonist. Her infidelity becomes a recurring topic in the play as was the case with us audiences since she did indeed have an affair with her flatmate’s husband and later with some dude who drives a Aston Martin behind Alex’s back.

Although Tan and Mardjuki had great chemistry on stage, it was a stretch to find any compatibility at all between Juliet and Alex other than the fact that they are both warm-blooded and they both enjoy a good sex. The narrative was advanced through dialogue a tad too recklessly as both went from complete strangers and mortal enemies, to can’t-take-my-lips-off-yours lovers in a matter of 40, or 39 minutes to be exact. Blame the pheromones!

There were some sweet moments in the play though. I liked the part where soon-to-be-single Alex hands Juliet a piece of bubble wrap because she loves to “pop the bubbles” and when she discovers that the locked chest actually contains a collection of all things Juliet – including her passport?

But the story plot goes critically thin when issues like Juliet’s desire to have babies, Alex’s lack of verbal affection is brought out again after 10 years. A newlywed’s honeymoon phase would have worn out by a year and those issues should have surfaced 10 months into marriage and not 10 years after.

However, if you get logic out of the way, Hello Goodbye is every bit of the feel-good romantic comedy that it positions itself to be. Both Tan and Mardjuki did a wonderful job in their roles. In the end, Hello Goodbye leaves you feeling everything is going to work out just right – if the baby comes. RW

Many thanks to SRT for the media passes.

Hello Goodbye

DBS Arts Centre

Opens 2 to 26 September 2015

After a sell-out run at the Hampstead Theatre in London, SRT is delighted to bring Hello Goodbye, the hottest romantic comedy of the year to Singapore. Featuring a star cast including Shane Mardjuki (Shakespeare in the Park – Twelfth Night, Unlucky Plaza) and Denise Tan (Dim Sum Dollies, Gold 90.5FM DJ).

Ticket Pricing: $15 – $60

Web Link: Hello Goodbye

Review: Shakespeare in the Park – The Tempest

O, wonder!
How many goodly creatures are there here!
How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world,
That has such people in’t!

Miranda from Shakespeare’s The Tempest

You know you’re in for a good show when you know it’s a Shakespeare. The first and only play he created out of pure imagination, The Tempest was also Shakespeare’s last play before his retirement. Unanimously declared one of Shakespeare’s greatest works has both scholars and critics alike.

SRT's Shakespeare in th ePark - The Tempest 2015

Set on the remote island, Prospero, the island’s ruling sorcerer and exiled Duke of Milan plots to restore his daughter Miranda to her rightful place. With the help of his spirit Ariel, he conjures the eponymous Tempest that brings his usurping brother Antonio, the treacherous King Alonso of Naples, Alonso’s good spirited son and Prince Ferdinand and his benefactor Gonzalo to the far-flung island. Chaos ensures, but with it the redemption of the King and the coming together of two young souls.

The Tempest is a highly anticipated annual event in Singapore’s cultural calendar and the Singapore Repertory Theatre’s 9th annual Shakespeare in the Park production. This year’s production features SRT’s grandiose and tallest set ever built in Singapore, and a stellar creative team from around the world.

Daniel Jenkins, Theo Ogundipe and Shane Mardjuki in SRT's Shakespeare in the Park - The TempestWith dark skies looming above and the rain threatening to stir up a tempest (Hah!) in the park, I was getting worried that the play would be cancelled. But God forbid, the rain came to a light drizzle and an eventual stop, double rainbows appeared (literally) and the play went underway. Despite having to deal with the light drizzle and a slippery set, our actors delivered their lines perfectly.

All hail, great master! grave sir, hail! I come
To answer thy best pleasure; be’t to fly,
To swim, to dive into the fire, to ride
On the curl’d clouds, to thy strong bidding task
Ariel and all his quality.

Ariel from Shakespeare’s The Tempest

I found it amusing yet strangely befitting that the production chose to cast a female (Ann Lek) to play Ariel – There’s only one female character in the Shakespearean play. My Oh My, she breathed life into the character and was simply lovely to watch and listen to. But that’s not to say that the other characters did not shine. I love the playful banter between the trio Caliban, Stephano and Trinculo, the romantic dialogue – a Shakespearean classic – between Miranda and Ferdinand, Prospero’s soulful acting and even the prancing spirits!

Simon Robson in SRT's Shakespeare in the Park - The Tempest (5)

And my ending is despair,
Unless I be relieved by prayer,
Which pierces so that it assaults
Mercy itself and frees all faults.
As you from crimes would pardon’d be,
Let your indulgence set me free.

Prospero from Shakespeare’s The Tempest
Prospero’s petition to the audience and, Shakespeare’s metaphoric inference to his final play and retirement from theatre 

There is something magical about watching a play in a park under starry skies which no indoor theatre and its comfy seats can gratify. Watching the play with great pals, a tapas spread and even the sharing of umbrellas with strangers, this sense of intimacy I truly enjoy.

And might I say, with lavish sets by an impressive creative team and seasoned cast, SRT’s Shakespeare in the Park has once again outdone itself to bring to us audiences a world-class outdoor theatre experience at affordable prices. Many thanks to SRT for the media passes. I am looking forward to the next production already!

Performances: Friday 1st May to Sunday 24th May 2015

Prices: From $45 (student and group concessions available)

Venue: Fort Canning Park

Ticketing: SISTIC at 6348 5555 or http://www.sistic.com.sg