Romeo and Juliet at San Anton Gardens

This year MADC has chosen “Romeo and Juliet” as its Shakespearean play set in the idyllic San Anton Gardens, Attard.

Written around 420 years ago, “Romeo and Juliet is one of the best known stories of all times about love, passion and tragedy. It illustrates Shakespeare’s great understanding of human nature and universal human qualities; and his ability to create dramatic situations with timeless characters.

The theme is well known: “Two households, alike in dignity – A pair of ‘star-crossed’ lovers take their lives”. However Director Luke Farrugia sets out to reveal the multifaceted nature of the story and its eternity. It could happen to anyone at any time.

The world we live in today is an extremely hostile one. Right now the current approach to Shakespeare productions in the West End, where Luke has been training at the Royal Central School of Drama for the past three years, is that of a “remix culture”.

How can we explore and update the play while still honouring the text? Costumes are traditional, but with a bit of a twist. Juliet’s tragedy is mirrored in the past, present and future. Is it really a love story? What is really happening in between Shakespeare’s lines?

The cause of the irrational hatred between the two houses is never fully explained but pervades every word within the text. The adults are too deaf and too deeply involved in this hatred to listen to their children. Without any guidance, what hope do they have?

The text is enhanced with music and dance, combining into an intriguing and holistic dramatic experience. Philip Leone-Ganado is Romeo, Erica Muscat is Juliet while other leading roles are played by Coryse Borg, Stefan Cachia Zammit, Michael Mangion and Joe Zammit; along with a cast of experienced and young actors.