My Shakespeare in the Park experience – The last night of Twelfth Night

28 May, 2012

Shakespeare in the Park – Twelfth Night
Part of the Audi Classics 2012
Presented by Transtec
Produced by Singapore Repertory Theatre
25 Apr – 20 May 2012
Fort Canning Park

With an entrance that enchants, Shakespeare In The Park by the Singapore Repertory Theatre (SRT) already had a perfect set up for romance. Aside from romance the timing was also spot on – We were watching the very last night of Twelfth Night, as I had heard whispers about this “rambunctious romantic comedy” and rushed in a few from my troops to get together with some food and for some laughter.

We got in quite quickly through the fast moving queue, hurrying through to fight for a good picnic place near the stage. Couples were cosying up and making out everywhere, but the group of us were undeterred as we plonked our picnic baskets down right next to them.

“Excuse us.”

Victory! We had awkwardly weaved through the web of PDA and now we weren’t too far from the theatre’s stage.

We staked our spot on a still-sunny patch of grass, laid out a massive blanket and kicked our shoes off. I made some introductions and conversations started around me in scatters, and I sat down with a smile. My insides sheened with slight pride as I looked at the beginning blossoms of the outing I had organized. Silently, I took a back seat to take in the brilliantly designed set and fortunate perfect weather.

The stage, in all of it’s grand glory, twinkled in the setting sun and we gushed with an ‘ooh’ and ‘aah’ at the shore, ship and a bar – all so realistic that we were tempted to walk up and try to get a drink.

Guess we have to make do with our own… Hitesh cracked open a can of beer and the girls poured out some wine. Some of us checked out what was on the DIY menu:
Fajitas, pasta funghi, sushi, salads, fried chicken, Korean food, sandwiches, strawberries, champagne, cookies, snacks

We take our picnics very seriously…
We also brought enough food for 15 people and chips for an entire army!

The lights went off and the characters burst on. It was showtime. Throughout it all, I felt that there was not enough of Duke Orsino but that is merely the biased opinion of a hungry female hoping for more Shane eye candy. Lady Olivia looked stunning from afar, her clothes not only draped her but made her and I especially couldn’t stop thinking about the one purple dress she wore a lot in the later half of the scenes. Her father, the drunk, behaved a very good drunk.

Pictures or recording during the show were not allowed – the above were taken from already publicized photo footage.

Besides a slight noise from a nearby concert (live show at Timbre) and a more than slight disconnection with old school literature, we otherwise enjoyed the Shakespeare in the Park experience. Even an ex-literature student like me had forgotten most of the plot and our group heavily relied on our smart phone’s Google to keep up with the story of Twelfth Night. I love plays and musicals but a monthly dose of Shakespearean language might be a bit too much for those who only know of the phrase, “to be or not to be?”.

What really saved the Shakespeare in our opinion was the standout performance by Fester ‘the fool’ – his silly antics and undisputed humor added a sharp and somewhat local touch to the otherwise Old English evening.

For 2.5 hours, I was definitely happy to be lost at sea in balmy and green Fort Canning.
All in all, this would be a great outing for students, romantics, Shakespeare fans and expats looking for something fresh to do. Did you know in 200++ Shakespeare in the Park nights, it has not rained once?!

Twelfth Night under/with the stars featured…
Cast: Jon Cancio, Daniel Jenkins, Keagan Kang, Gavin Low, Shane Mardjuki, Neil McCaul,Adrian Pang, Seong Hui Xuan, Rebecca Spykerman, Tan Shou Chen, Andy Tear and Vicky Williamson.

Director: Bruce Guthrie
Production Designer: Robin Don
Lighting Designer: Rick Fisher
Sound Designer: Mike Walker
Composer and Music Arranger: Ruth Ling
Choreographer: Filomar Tariao
Projection Designer: Andrzej Goulding
Hair Designer: Ashley Lim

I interviewed our troop for a short review of what we liked. The answer was obvious – Adrian Pang and the crazy yellow stockings!

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