The Hong Kong Version of Romeo and Juliet in the 1960s - Liberty

Monday, October 9, 2023

The Hong Kong Version of Romeo and Juliet in the 1960s

 

Garry Corpuz left, and Wang Qingxin in “Romeo and Juliet” at City Center. With choreography by Septime Webre, the ballet was set in 1960s Hong Kong. Credit...Christopher Duggan

The Hong Kong ballet version of Romeo and Juliet requires a bit of time travel. Shakespeare's story isn't set in Renaissance Italy, but in 1960s Hong Kong, an era of economic development, the rise of the younger generation, and cinema. In this "Romeo", Hong Kong film culture makes a cameo appearance. Markets, tourists, office workers, and film crews work hard in this film.

The vaudeville scenes that took place as part of that shoot seem inconsistent, but that's about it. Unfortunately, what's missing from the big picture is vulnerability. Romeo and Juliet make eye contact. they hug. But I don't feel it.

Choreographed by the company's artistic director, Septime Webre (formerly of the Washington Ballet), the first half of the weekend's run at New York City Center turned many of the audience into amateur filmmakers. Instagram had an obvious appeal, but the ballroom scene could be better captured when the woman held her smartphone overhead and turned on the flash.


Ye Feifei and Alejandro Vireles. By the time Villeres got to the basement scene, his fatigue was real. Christopher Duggan.

What about ballet itself? Despite the new settings, this "Romeo" felt heavier and faster. - More groundbreaking or romantic. Several characters have been renamed. Tibalt is Lord Capulet's sidekick, undoubtedly Lady Capulet's lover and trio boss Ty Poe (Gary Corpse). is especially quick to kiss Tai Po. Mac wants to embarrass Typo, a sleek, evil, dark-skinned man in public, but Mac also seems to have something for Romeo. The move is to slowly pass out in Romeo's arms and kiss him with the joy of a dying man.

Even if the character set changes, the story hardly changes. Romeo and Juliet come from conflicting families, fall in love, and die. Webre's "Romeo" is a significant starting point for 60's swing (with Hing Chao as martial arts advisor), as well as physical combat and weapons such as sticks and butterfly knives. Anemia, dramatic punch.

Designed for better absorption. Ricky Chan's set glows with neon signs advertising coffee shops and nightclubs, while Mandy Tam's stunning cuts blend 1960s sophistication with traditional attire. it has been. Tam's outfit, the slit, and collar is the most vibrant and intricate part of the show and is often better suited for storytelling than choreography.


Center-left Jonathan Spigner and Leon Chunlong. Ricky Chan's set is lit with neon signs advertising coffee shops and nightclubs, and Mandy Tam's outfit is perfectly cut. Christopher Duggan.

Romeo's world is a fun, vibrant, happy purple and green world, while Juliet's world is predominantly red and black, harsh, oppressive, and dangerous. When Romeo, Mac, and Benny (Jonathan Spigner as Benvolio from Webre) barge into a gala dinner, the moment Romeo meets Juliet, the three preppies get lost on their way to the country club and Dracula's castle. seems to have arrived

On Friday, Ye Feifei was as sophisticated as Juliet but too mature. Alejandro Velez, the main guest artist in the role of Romeo, seemed distracted by Romeo's choreographic palette, which features a series of dizzying lifts. By the time he got to the basement scene, his fatigue was real, as you can feel.

But what was most jarring was the way their dance was accompanied by pauses. It was only a moment to thank the audience, but it followed the others...it broke the magic. "Romeo and Juliet" demands a very intense intimacy, as if we were in the crowd, peering through the smallest opening in the door. Can't help: You can't look away.

Intimate occasions were constantly broken in this work. Why did Romeo go back for his coat before Juliet climbed the balcony stairs? That seemed dangerous enough. A masked undercover operative was seen helping her while she ascended. The ballet was a tight fit and too big for the city center stage. In some cases, the wing movements inevitably dripped onto the stage.

Crowded scenes turned into fights, and more intimate moments such as when the lovers were alone on stage became comical — Romeo looking for Juliet, and Juliet looking for Romeo. It was difficult to find flow in the dance itself, and it seemed that the focus was always on poses and stretching rather than continuous movement. The Hong Kong Ballet was full of energy, but what about the texture? To do.

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