Filipino Rap Version of Shakespeare's Plays Is Streaming for Free

Expect to hear some burning FlipTop battles.

( While watching a classic staging of a Shakespeare play—preferably inspired by the original Elizabethan theaters of yesteryears with groundlings and all—is great, cool adaptations of the great bard's masterpieces are also very much welcome. Philippine Educational Theater Association in 2011 took on the challenge to transform not only one of his plays, but six of his most popular ones into a mash-up of a rap musical. The local theater company is bringing back the award-winning piece William on YouTube, where everyone can stream it for free on April 27 at 7 p.m.

William, which was written by Ron Capinding and directed by Maribel Legarda, tells the story of five students who are forced to study Shakespeare by a terror teacher. The high school students, in the process, find relevance in the dramatist's words, as they try to deal with their own struggles: a gay guy being bullied in school, an abused teen, a grade-conscious overachiever, an abandoned daughter, and the child of a social-climbing family. At various points in the musical they break into a song—nay, a rap—of key moments in Shakespeare's five plays: a revenge speech from Merchant of Venice, Hamlet's to-be-or-not-to-be lines, Julius Caesar’s friends-Romans-countrymen declamation, a speech on mercy from Merchant of Venice, and a popular dialogue from Romeo and Juliet. Even their teacher raps some lines from Macbeth.


William dominated the Philstage Gawad Buhay Awards in 2011, taking home the trophies for Outstanding Play, Outstanding Ensemble Performance in a Play, Outstanding Original Script, Male Lead Performance in a Play,  Male Featured Performance in a Play, and Female Featured Performance in a Play.

William goes live on April 27, 7 p.m. on PETA Theater Online's YouTube channel. For more information, follow PETA on Facebook.

Main photo from PETA

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