Tuesday, October 18, 2005

where fart thou, Romeo?

What follows is a blast from the recent past-- pics from my "production" this past summer session.

One of my strangest and most interesting students goes by the English name Perfume, which is derived from her Korean name, Hyang-su (the Sino-Korean word for perfume-- literally, "fragrance-water"). Along with her partner in crime, whose name escapes me at this late hour, she devised a way to avoid performing the Romeo and Juliet balcony scene as described in the Reduced Shakespeare Company's The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged). In the RSC version, the balcony is a living person whose sole function is to act as a sort of horse for Juliet. None of my actresses was willing to carry (or catch) anyone else.

The table was Perfume's idea. It sounded good at the time... then I watched her perform the scene during rehearsals and wondered what would happen if she broke her neck and ended up suing me and the school.

Obviously, I was thinking like a litigation-wary American. Perfume got through rehearsals and the actual performance without a scratch, though there were some close calls. (You'll have noted that the table, already bending under the weight of two people, also has wheels.)

In the next picture, Perfume hews close to the RSC script, which calls for a distraught Juliet to stab herself multiple times in the head and neck. The audience (all fifteen members) loved this scene, which Perfume carried off with perfect comic timing.

Normally, Perfume is a quiet, shy student, but there was something about the role of Juliet that brought out the animal in her. Look:

I wish I could say I took these remarkable photos, but all credit must go to my Smoo colleague A, who captured quite a few good moments on film.

[NB: Perfume is the girl who, during rehearsal, uttered the immortal flub: "O Romeo, Romeo, where fart thou, Romeo?"]


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