Shakespeare (Abridged!)

Oh dear, I’m getting dreadfully behind on my updates! Here is something that I actually wanted to blog last week, but with my busy schedule, didn’t quite manage it.

Last Friday we went to see The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged), put on by BITE (Beijing International Theatre & Entertainment) at Cafe Sambal Urban in the Phoenix City (凤凤 凰城) apartment complex. The venue was an intriguing and innovative choice, as it was inside a tremendously hip Malaysian restaurant nestled deep within an apartment complex. The show was staged by repurposing various parts of the restaurant: a curtain draped off the backstage area where the props were stored, the performers did their thing in front of the curtain, and the main dining area of the restaurant became audience seating.

A view of the restaurant as the space is transformed into a theatre:

Cafe Sambal Urban

Before the show started, we were treated to two songs by the Society of Sisters, an organization that works with migrant workers. The first song was the anthem of the Society, and the second was a song written by a migrant worker about Beijing. Later we bought their CD, it was only 30 RMB.

The Society of Sisters performing:

Billed as “96 minutes, 37 plays by 3 guys”, The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) was ably performed in English by Rene Ng, Kris Chung, and Murray Walker. It’s a fast, zany romp through Shakespeare, with some specific Beijing zingers thrown in for good measure. Actually, when I think about it, it was like an extended version of the prop sequence of “Who’s Line Is It Anyway?”

Some photos from the performance:

This was from one of my favourite parts of the play. Titus Andronicus, as a cooking show!

During the second half, which mostly revolves around Hamlet, there was audience participation, and Scott was picked as one of the audience members to go up and make a fool of himself. I won’t say what he did, because it will spoil the fun.

Hamlet talks to a sock puppet:


All in all, it was certainly a wonderful time to be had in an unusual space, and I am looking forward to seeing new shows from this particular theatre troupe.

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One Comment on "Shakespeare (Abridged!)"

  1. Ed
    06/02/2008 at 3:30 am Permalink

    is that scott? Your boy?

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