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Artistic Director: Pushpaa Arumugam
Shakespeare 400 is a production by the Speech and Drama Arts Programme (SDA)
Synopsis - Play 1: Merchant of Venice (Adaptation)
Written by: Shobana Vikraman
Directed by: Shobana Vikraman
Merchant of Venice is an adaptation of Shakespeare's famous play of the same title. It started out with a young Venetian, Bassanio, needs a loan of three thousand ducats so that he can woo Portia, a wealthy Venetian heiress in Belmont. He approaches his friend Antonio, a merchant. With all his trade ships at sea, Antonio is not able to help Bassanio. Therefore, Antonio goes to Shylock, a money lender. Shylock's deep hatred for Antonio and sees this as an opportunity to take his revenge on Antonio for being an impediment in his business. Shylock demands a pound of Antonio's flesh if the loan is not settled within three months. Despite Bassanio’s warnings, Antonio agrees.
In Belmont, Portia's father has written in his will that the man who chooses the right chest will win Portia's hand in marriage. This frustrates Portia as she would like to marry someone she loves. Bassanio comes to Belmont and chooses the right chest and wins her hand in marriage. As they were about to celebrate the union a messenger comes by to deliver the news that Antonio is now in grave trouble. Antonio was unable to pay back the money to Shylock as his ships were lost in the sea. Bassanio was devastated.
Back in Venice, everyone assembles in the court. The Duke tries his very best to make Shylock change his mind and grant him more time to repay. But to no avail, Shylock sticks to his decision and insists on taking the one pound of flesh. Will Shylock get his revenge? Will anyone be able to alter the fate of poor Antonio?
Synopsis - Play 2: Lee Er (Adaptation of King Lear)
Written by: Muzdalifah Hamzah & Shaun Low
Directed by: Muzdalifah Hamzah, Amrit Kaur & Siti Zarah
Lee Er is an adaptation of Shakespeare's King Lear. With a localised twist, this story unravels real life issues concerning family, elderly care and greed. In this story, Lee Er is getting old and sickly, he is thinking about his future and his well-being of his daughters. He has decided to split his wealth amongst his 3 daughters named Goneril, Regan and Cordelia. But first, his daughters must express their love for him. A selfish request but Goneril and Regan responded to it readily. Unlike her sisters, Cordelia was not into insincere flatteries. Lee Er was not able to accept her response and decided to disown her, thinking she had failed as a daughter.
Now Lee Er believes that Goneril and Regan are the only two who will care for him. However, Lee Er is unaware that Goneril and Regan are solely after his wealth. Alvin who is Goneril’s husband, is against this idea and tries to advise his wife and sister-in-law but none of them listens to him. Both daughters then try to convince their father to sell his flat. Lee Er agrees despite his good friend Kent being against it. What will happen to Lee Er? Will he regret shunning Cordelia?
Synopsis - Play 3: Midsummer Chaotic Dream (Adaptation of A Midsummer Night's Dream)
Written by: Amelia George
Directed by: Amelia George
Midsummer Chaotic Dreams is inspired by and an adaptation of Shakespeare’s comedy Midsummer Night’s Dream. In Midsummer Chaotic Dreams, the key characters are all busy dealing with their own personal nemesis. The Duke of Theseus dealing with the expectations of his impending marriage and juggling his duty as a reluctant guardian and advisor of the people. Hermia, a young girl, who challenges preconceived, stereotypical ideas of what a girl can and should do. King Oberon and Titania, the Royal Couple of the Fairy World, embroiled in a power tussle over the possession of a Little Boy given to them as a gift. Puck, the Fairy leader is caught in all this unfolding drama as an unwilling servant, who decides to use magic that will eventually and unwittingly allow the characters to see their follies. Through their problems, arises mayhem that slowly brings to the fore how they have each been blinded by misjudgement, pride and ego.
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