Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - A spin on "Romeo and Juliet" sees the lovers meet in the Wild West



A spin on "Romeo and Juliet" sees the lovers meet in the Wild West

A spin on "Romeo and Juliet" sees the lovers meet in the Wild West

In the Phnom Penh Players’ latest theatre offering, the classic Shakespearean story of Romeo and Juliet gets a spaghetti Western makeover.

Set in the Wild West during the 1880s, the normally four-hour play has been cut down to two and, performed by a modest cast of 16, is a “more focused and intense” retelling of the story, said director Paul de Havilland.

“We have about 50 per cent of the original play left and have taken out a lot of characters,” he said.

Cece Marshall, who plays Juliet in the play, said aside from the Western setting the play was also darker than other interpretations, and unlike most performances, her character of Juliet gets the most stage time.

“My favourite thing about Juliet, as I’m playing her, is how strong-willed and independent she is . . . [compared to] other Juliets that have been played in the past,” said Marshall.

Having grown up in the west of the US watching Western films and attending rodeos as a child, Marshall was keen to be a part of de Havilland’s adaptation, Romeo y Juliet.

Another big variation is that Tybalt and Mercutio, characters traditionally played by men, have been changed into female roles in de Havilland’s version of the classic romantic tragedy.

De Havilland said the decision had nothing to do with a lack of male actors, it was “absolutely intentional”.

At first, nobody else supported the decision to change the gender of the characters, and de Havilland himself said that he would never have thought Tybalt could have been played by a woman.

“It was about taking risks and not being safe,” he said.

Marshall said the decision to change the gender of Tybalt and Mercutio was an ironic twist, considering how the women in Shakespeare’s plays used to be played by men.

She was also pleased to see more opportunities for women in theatre.

“Women are always asking for more roles in plays, so I’m really happy that there were more roles for women in this one.”

French colonial villa the Mansion will serve as the backdrop to the performance, providing the character of Juliet with a proper balcony for the famous scene where she and Romeo declare their love for each other.

The performance will be accompanied by a band playing Western-inspired pieces and characters will be decked out in Western costumes.

“I’m wearing a gorgeous red, almost like a flamenco-style skirt with cowboy boots and an ivory white lace top,” said Marshall.

“We hope it works,” said de Havilland, “The audience will be the best judge of that.”

Performances of Romeo y Juliet are on April 24 and 25, and May 1 and 2. Tickets are $10 and are available from The Laneway, The Willow, Garden Cafe, Cafe Yejj and FCC.

MOST VIEWED

  • Omicron patients can stay home: PM

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has given the green light for anyone who contracts the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron mutation or any other variant to convalesce or receive treatment at home or in any other reasonable non-healthcare setting. The new decision supersedes a restriction on home care for

  • The effects of the USD interest rate hike on Cambodian economy

    Experts weigh in on the effect of a potential interest rate expansion by the US Federal Reserve on a highly dollarised Cambodia Anticipation of the US Federal Reserve’s interest rate hike in March is putting developing economies on edge, a recent blog post by

  • Cambodia’s first ever anime festival kicks off Jan 22 at capital’s F3 centre

    Phnom Penh's first ever Anime Festival will bring together fans, artists, shops and other local businesses with ties to the Japanese animation style for cosplay competitions, online games, pop-up shops and more on January 22, with Friends Futures Factory (F3) hosting. F3 is a project that

  • PM eyes Myanmar peace troika

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has suggested that ASEAN member states establish a tripartite committee or diplomatic troika consisting of representatives from Cambodia, Brunei and Indonesia that would be tasked with mediating a ceasefire in Myanmar. The premier also requested that Nippon Foundation chairman Yohei Sasakawa

  • Demining rat ‘hero’ Magawa dead at 8

    A landmine-hunting rat that was awarded a gold medal for heroism for clearing ordnance from the Cambodian countryside has died, his charity said on January 11. Magawa, a giant African pouched rat originally from Tanzania, helped clear mines from about 225,000sqm of land – the equivalent of 42

  • Hun Sen gets 4th Covid shot, urges compatriots to follow

    Prime Minister Hun Sen and his wife Bun Rany on January 14 received their fourth dose of Covid-19 vaccine and called on compatriots to follow suit as the Omicron coronavirus variant continues to spread in the community. This marks the launch of Cambodia's fourth-dose vaccination campaign,