Ballet version of West Side Story brings age-old tale to Brno
Photo caption: Ballet National Theatre Brno will premier West Side Story on Saturday. Click here to see the trailer to get a feel for their creative interpretation. Photo credit: Ivan Pinkava.
By Bruno Zalubil
Brno, Nov 19 (BD) – I recently taught an English lesson about perfect modal verbs. The theme for the exercise was the problems associated with a relationship that went bad: He should have . . . She could have. . . They might have tried . . .
To introduce the assignment, I asked for examples of famous love stories. Everybody – 11 out of 11 people in three different classes — blurted out “Romeo and Juliet.” It makes sense. But everybody? Is Romeo and Juliet really the absolute, No. 1, paramount, unequaled love story of all time?
The answer appears to be: Yes. William Shakespeare tapped into an emotional fount that never lets up, influencing generation upon generation of people and being retold countless different ways.
This winter, the ballet company of the National Theatre Brno will stage its own contemporary version: West Side Story.
Click here to see the trailer to get a feel for their creative interpretation.
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West Side Story is a musical version of Romeo and Juliet that debuted on Broadway in 1957. It quickly gained fame because of the music by Leonard Bernstein and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. West Side Story is set in the rough-and-tumble streets of New York City in the 1950s. The rival families are two teenage street gangs: the Sharks, who are Puerto Rican, and the Jets. Tony is a Jet and plays the role of Romeo. Marie is the sister of the Shark leader and plays the role of Juliet.
The premiere performance in Brno is Saturday, and there are 15 additional performances through the end of January 2018. Each is two hours long, including a 30-minute intermission. Tickets range from 441Kc to 1,230kc. Click here for the English-language website.
All of the performances will be at the trade fair center in Pavilion P. Click here for a map.
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Non-Czech speakers are clearly marginalized when it comes to the local theater. One can still appreciate good acting and staging and sets and lighting, but a lot is lost because of the language barrier.
Ballet is a beyond spoken language. It speaks through motion, with body and posture and gesture and movement. West Side Story, via Romeo and Juliet, speaks through a timeless story that everyone clearly appreciates as the most famous of love stories.