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Shakespeare Reimagined: TNT Theater's Romeo and Juliet Staged Chongqing

By XINYI LI|Nov 20,2023

Chongqing - On November 19, the Chongqing Stars Theater hosted TNT Theatre's captivating rendition of Romeo and Juliet from the UK. With a cast of six from the UK, Switzerland, and beyond, they masterfully transported the audience into Shakespeare's classic narrative world, utilizing a minimalist stage to full effect. More than just depicting a tale of love at first sight and familial feuds, the performance showcased the actors' profound grasp of their roles and exceptional acting prowess.

A clip of the performance (Photo/Chongqing Daily)

Established in 1980, TNT Theatre Britain has gained a stellar reputation both in the UK and internationally, becoming one of the most extensively touring English-language theater companies worldwide. Their latest performance in Chongqing does not just offer a cultural feast to the Chinese audience but also marks TNT Theatre's second original English-language drama presentation in the city, further cementing its global artistic footprint.

A performance excerpt (Photo/Chongqing Daily)

Director Paul Stebbing reflected, "A masterpiece's allure lies in its ability to transcend boundaries of nations, ethnicities, languages, and cultures, transforming into art that resonates deeply with the heart."

A clip of the performance (Photo/Chongqing Daily)

In the midst of the performance, the actors adeptly transformed the scene in just a minute, utilizing simple props like a few boxes to craft strikingly vivid scenes. The limited use of stage technology served as an intentional choice, echoing the performance style of Shakespeare's era. This minimalism directed the audience's attention more intently towards the nuances of the actors' performances.

Actor Leopold Benedict shared, "Our aim is for the audience to be an integral part of our performance. Through our adaptation, we aspire to align the play more closely with the preferences of the Chinese audience." The actors' engagement extended beyond their impressive stage performances; they frequently interacted with the audience, incorporating elements like singing the Chinese song Mo Li Hua (Jasmine Flower) and using Chinese dialogues. These touches significantly enhanced the performance's enjoyment and relatability.

Following the performance, international audience members from the United Kingdom, the Philippines, and others posed for photos with the actors. (Photo/Chongqing Daily)

The audience was particularly struck by the actors' remarkable vocal acoustics, achieved solely through their voices. Their a cappella harmonies resonated with a quality akin to that of a professional choir, leaving a lasting impression.


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