Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Shakespeare with a traditional twist

Mumbai: A multilingual production of Shakespeare's comedy A Midsummer Night's Dream will hit theatres in Mumbai from Tuesday.

This lavish production could very well change your idea about how Shakespearean dramas should be staged.

This British Council production of A Midsummer Night's Dream has a tongue twisting variety of languages - 'He probably would' - and folk traditions that tear down common notions of Shakespearean plays.

British director Tim Supple is overseeing an ensemble of performers from India and Sri Lanka, who bring to the stage their regional dance and theatre traditions to complement Shakespeare's original drama.

"Some of the most exciting actors are not working in either English or Hindi. It's good to explore different aspects in theatre," says Supple.

The play uses physical theatre to maximum effect. The experience for the 40 actors and dancers who have come from diverse backgrounds was unlike anything that the Bard might have conjured up.

Says one of the actors, Yuki Ellias, "They play is almost aerodynamic. We climb ropes and the grid. We explore all the aspects of physical theatre."

This production ties India's multi lingual folk traditions with western theatre and the result is Shakespeare like you've never seen or heard before.

This East-West production of A Midsummer Night's Dream is now headed to the year long Complete Works festival in England, which begins in June.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

A Bard Day's Night

Stratford's RSC lifts the curtain on its year-long Complete Works celebration with a jam-packed day of special events on April 23 - the anniversary of both the Bard's birth and death.

The Complete Works Festival, which runs from April 2006 to April 2007, includes productions by theatre companies from all over the world and is the first time all 37 of the plays, as well as the major poems and sonnets, have been performed at the same event.
Launch specials range from a football match between the RSC actors from Romeo and Juliet - with Montagues taking on Capulets (Swan Theatre Gardens, 1pm) - to visits from some of the project's leading lights.

In the Swan's Birthday Marquee, Dame Judi Dench will be in public conversation with journalist Matt Wolf, Patrick Stewart and RSC advisory director John Barton will share their thoughts on staging Shakespeare and actresses Janet Suzman and Harriet Walter will reveal the finer points of playing Cleopatra with Professor Carl Rutter (from 1pm).

Actors from stage and BBC television and radio will join local artists, businesses and members of the public to create The Complete Work...of Art, a huge image of the great man himself divided into 90 parts given to participants throughout the day and assembled and unveiled outside the RST at around 4.30pm.

In the first of a series of Broadside Brunch Debates, Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams joins a panel chaired by James Naughtie from BBC Radio Four's Today programme and The Book Club to discuss Shakespeare and the Creative Imagination (Birthday Marquee, 2.30pm). Tickets at �10 for the opening event and �15 thereafter include a light meal at the RST restaurant and live music. Ot"

Monday, April 03, 2006

Bawdy with the bard:
How Shakespeare Took over My Life
by Dominic Dromgoole

Dominic Dromgoole is the new artistic director of the Globe Theatre, and here he shows us how he reached this dignity and height of fortune with Shakespeare accompanying him every step of the way. As a boy he read the sonnets to his 104-year-old grandfather on his deathbed; his first fumbling adolescent kisses were moonlit by Romeo and Juliet; and at 40 he walked with a friend from Stratford-upon-Avon to London in one arduous week of passionate pilgrimage. Notwithstanding the fact that Dromgoole rather hurtfully dismisses your humble theatre reviewers as �shitty vultures who cluster at first nights swapping gleeful notes�, I have to admit, manfully swallowing back my very real hurt, that his book is an absolute delight. "