Empty Space made their debut with their production, A New Testament of Romeo and Juliet, at the National Theatre Hall, Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy (BSA) recently.
The show began with thespian Ataur Rahman’a inaugural address. “Although theatre is an ephemeral form of art, I believe you become a different person every time you perform. Thus, I named the group Empty Space. I hope they fill up empty spaces with new ideas,” he said.
The play has been written by Saymon Zakaria. Inspired by William Shakespeare’s famous play The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare is seen on stage alongside characters created by him in this adaptation.
“Although this story has been performed in various educational institutions before, this is the first time any theatre group has attempted to present it on stage. I am sure this young troupe will excel in their work,” said Saymon Zakaria.
The story is set in a graveyard where a writer finds the lovers united after death. He immediately accuses Romeo for being in love with another woman and asks him to confess. In turn, Juliet blames Romeo for the final tragedy.
The writer is not happy belittling Romeo alone, and blames Friar Lawrence for conspiring murder. After the first half of the 45-minute play, William Shakespeare himself is forced to appear with Friar Lawrence. The writer of the ‘New Testament’ accuses William Shakespeare of safeguarding the Friar, despite his ill intentions and forces him to confess as well.
Noor Zaman Raja has directed the play. He has also designed the stage, lights and costumes. Golam Shahriar Shikto, Swadhin Biswas, Noor Zaman Raja, Loba Ahmed, and Fakir Biplob play different roles in the play.
Empty Space is a group of young theatre activists presenting contemporary issues and social anomalies through their work. The troupe is working under the guidance of many well-acclaimed theatre personas, including Ataur Rahman and Golam Sarwar.