Romeo and Juliet survive, but then what?
If we change the fate of the two protagonists in William Shakespeare's most famous romance tragedy, and make Romeo and Juliet live together as everybody might wish, is it really going to be a happy ending for the couple?
The question may be answered in "Juliet and Romeo – A Guide to Long Life and Happy Marriage," a show presented by British troupe Lost Dog, which is making its Shanghai debut at Theater YOUNG this week.
In this reimagined story, Romeo and Juliet have survived into adulthood and are enduring a midlife crisis in their 40s. As the world renowned "model couple," they still try to live up to their own reputation for romantic love.
The show is a mix of speech, dance and comedy by performers Solène Weinachter and Kip Johnson.
It denies the status of women as subordinate to men, and questions the meaning of sacrificial love. When the romance sparked by rebellion in their youth fades, how will this couple face the conflicts and dullness of married life?
To solve their problems, the couple go through their memories and re-enact scenes from their past in a modern setting with Shakespeare's dialogue, and the fissures in their relationship gradually show.
"Too many of our stories only focus on the beginning of a relationship, but don't care about how it continues," said director Ben Duke, who is also the founder and artistic director of Lost Dog.
The dilemma between Romeo and Juliet is the collision between the ideal of love and the reality of marriage. The struggle of the couple reflects the intertwinement of two different attitudes towards intimate relationship.
The performance is part of the ongoing China Shanghai International Arts Festival.
Dates: November 16-17, 7:30pm; November 18, 2pm and 7:30m
Tickets: 180-480 yuan
Venue: Theater YOUNG
Address: 1155 Kongjiang Rd, Yangpu District 杨浦区控江路1155号