Laura Bosenberg as Juliet, and Thomas Thorne as Romeo

Words: Sheila Chisholm

From Sunday, January 22 to February 26, Maynardville open-air theatre ballet enthusiasts can look forward to a new production of Romeo and Juliet. Choreographed by Cape Town City Ballet’s (CTCB) artistic director Robin van Wyk he, in conjunction with recording/sound fundi Gerhard Huizinga, has trimmed Prokofiev’s superb score to cut Act 1 back to 48 minutes and Acts 2 and 3 to 55 minutes.

Said van Wyk. “I didn’t want to disrupt either the music or Shakespeare’s plot too much so we have taken care to ensure the story flows with the music (no awful sudden cuts), each instrument has full value and decibels are balanced – not easy considering Maynardville’s speakers are all positioned side-front.”

Unusually complex choreography

“Apart from introducing a pas de deux for Juliet and a Death figure to give a slightly retrospective slant, I have emphasised CTCB’s strong male contingent. That’s done by creating unusually complex choreography. I have also devised a pas de deux for Paris and Juliet, something that seemed natural yet missing in other productions I’ve studied.”

Typically, van Wyk’s choreography is built on the Romantic classical ballet technique, but he’s embroidered this to fashion a modern feel. His lifts and presages are intricate and to clarify the action he’s introduced additional mime.

“Because we are premiering this ballet out-of-doors – where the proscenium arch and background are trees, shrubs and a star lit sky – it seemed right to exchange the normal heavy style costumes with lighter and brighter fabrics. Indicating whose who the Montague’s wear blue and the Capulet’s are kitted in burgundy.”

The alternate casts for Romeo and Juliet include Thomas Thorne opposite Laura Bosenberg; Ivan Boonzaaier opposite Kim Vieira; Revil Yon is Romeo to Rosamund Ford’s Juliet. Daniel Szybkowski, Conrad Nusser and Martin Goldberg interchange as Paris.

Who: Cape Town City Ballet

What: Romeo and Juliet

Where: Maynardville Open-Air Amphitheatre, Cape Town

When: Jan 22 – Feb 26, at 8.15pm

Book: Computicket 0861 915 8000, Dial-a-Seat 021 421 7695