Bard of Avon gets Indian colour and feel | india | Hindustan Times
  • Wednesday, May 23, 2018
  •   °C  
Today in New Delhi, India
May 23, 2018-Wednesday
-°C
New Delhi
  • Humidity
    -
  • Wind
    -

Bard of Avon gets Indian colour and feel

production blends a work

india Updated: Mar 24, 2006 17:04 IST

William Shakespeare gets an Indian colour and feel.A multi-lingual Anglo-Indian theatre production blends a work of the 16th century genius with Indian theatrical and cultural elements ranging from Bharatnatyam to Kalaripayattu and even Manipuri dance.

The 'Indianised' production of the bard's acclaimed play A Midsummer Night's Dream, believed to have been written between 1594 and 1596, will re-create the Shakespearean magic with seven languages - English, Hindi, Tamil, Bengali, Marathi, Malayalam and Sinhalese.

The play, created by British director Tim Supple, presents 22 performers from India and Sri Lanka and is set to tour India, Sri Lanka and Britain.

The 'Indianised' production of the bard's acclaimed play A Midsummer Night's Dream, believed to have been written between 1594 and 1596, will re-create the Shakespearean magic with seven languages - English, Hindi, Tamil, Bengali, Marathi, Malayalam and Sinhalese.

"The different languages and radically different cultural backgrounds and performance styles of the cast have produced a stylistic melting-pot creating a unique interpretation," said Supple after a preview of the production here Thursday night.

"I had been planning to direct the play for years and was inspired by the prospect of doing it in India. I knew that Indian performers, with their great variety of approaches to performance would bring special qualities to the play and the play would welcome the variety," he said.

"In Britain, we have diverse cultural elements that converge in Shakespeare and in India, we find elements that truly represent Shakespeare. Therefore, we have incorporated several Indian theatrical and cultural elements in this production," said Supple.

The production will begin its tour here on April 1 before moving to Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata and Strafford in Britain over the next three months. It will later have performances in Sri Lanka.

While the production retains the charm of Shakespeare's works, the Indian elements have been instilled through vigorous fast dance movements and liberal portrayal of sexuality.

"The vigorous dance movements and the use of Kalaripayattu, which is actually a martial art, gave the production a kind of energy that is usually not present in Western theatre. But it has helped in highlighting the work of Shakespeare better," said Supple, who has directed, adapted and devised theatre, opera and films throughout Britain, US, Europe, Middle East and the Far East.

The performers are from diverse backgrounds, making it more interesting, said the director. They include performers formally trained in the US and France and also artistes from Delhi's Kathputli Colony, the dwelling place of traditional acrobat performers.

Through auditions held in India and Sri Lanka 100 actors were initially short listed, and eventually whittled down to 60. The final auditions were held in the National Centre for the Performing Arts in Mumbai and 22 artistes selected, including a Sri Lankan.