Art impacts our society by changing its views, instilling values and translating experiences across space and time.

“Art in this sense is communication; it allows people from different cultures and different times to communicate with each other via images, sounds and stories. Art is often a vehicle for social change.”

On the 14th February, I was issued a free ticket at the ninth hour to attend a play at the Battersea Arts Center, London, titled Juliet and Romeo, “A Guide to long life and Happy Marriage.”  Unhinged by the title I thought oh no, not one of Shakespeare’s thou and thus chronologies. Nevertheless, since i had no game on and love affair to nurture, I went.

The drama began with a couple relaying their story of how they met, fought and loved through a miserable marriage. They tried to make the union work, but as soon as the audience glimpsed a shimmer of hope, a quarrel erupted which led to revelations of unfaithfulness and broken trust, bringing the curtains down on an unresolved conclusion.

I left the theatre with a lot to digest and assimilate.  It was different from the plays I would have seen in the Caribbean filled with local music and parlance only the indigenous could comprehend. However, Juliet and Romeo’s storyboard was clearly developed to accommodate a global audience.

The play was accompanied by sound tracts from American artistes such as The Supremes “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” to Frank Sinatra’s “That is Life,” on a British platform with a multicultural/ethnic audience who cheered on the actors.

I noted the writer did not reveal too much information on the couple’s internal turmoil but left drops of breadcrumbs for the viewers to discover clues in their own convoluted relationships.

After seven days of asking, how the play informed my practice I concluded, too much information volunteered kills the mystery. The same principle can be applied to studio practice making the work sociable and one to remember.

 

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