Moonlight Over Manila

I’m currently doing production work for Repertory Philippines’ Romeo and Bernadette, a very loose adaptation of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. In the show, Romeo Montague wakes up in 1960s Brooklyn and chases after one girl that bears a stunning resemblance to Juliet. The girl turns out to be the daughter of a mob boss, and all hell breaks loose as Romeo woos her and finds himself in the crossfire of two warring mafia families. Internet geeks will recognize this as glorified fanfiction. When I said this was Shakespeare, shaken and stirred, I wasn’t kidding.

The material is filled with little gems that tickle the lit geek in me. It’s a little bit meta, narrated by a Brooklyn Guy trying to score with his date, it has theatrical in-joke (a song about how excruciatingly long it takes for a character to die), jokes about Romeo’s diction (“Where’d you learn English from, a bible?!”), and a modern adaptation of classical arias. All this tailored around a cleverly funny retelling of Romeo and Juliet.

This being February, it serves as the perfect Valentines Day date. Forget the cliche movie date, you can make yourself all cultured and debonair by catching a play, and guys can pick up a few tips on how to be a regular Romeo.

Speaking as a nerd with a shot of cynicism, while the play is enjoyable, I see it as a cautionary tale about falling for patterns. If you’re lucky in love, you’ll find your Juliet–or Romeo. If you’re not so lucky, you’ll find yourself hitched to some guido that just wants to get under your skirt. But hey, that’s just me. If you read this far, that means you got past my cynic warning.

Catch Romeo and Bernadette at Onstage Theater, Greenbelt 1, Makati, every Friday at 8:00pm, Saturdays at 3:30pm and 8:00pm, and Sundays at 3:30pm this February! You can call Repertory Philippines‘ Box Office at 88-70-710 or log on to Ticketworld for ticket purchasing and information.

Pictures taken by GR Rodis. Used with permission.