It’s raining plays!
Theatre-wise I have had a rocking last few months. First there was Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Phantom Of the Opera”, one of the most popular Broadway musicals (Read the review here – and if you are one of the (very few!) regular readers of TalkingTails and have not read it, then I would like it it you did.. thanks!). More recently I saw the Madras Players’ Production of Chetan Bhagat’s “Five Point Someone” (Reviewed here).
Yesterday I saw Time Supple’s A Midsummer Nights Dream presented by The British Council (Calcutta) in association with The Telegraph and Reliance ADAG Group and staged at Kala Mandir, Calcutta. The production is a multi-lingual adaptation of Shakespeare’s original wedding play. It is a romantic comedy set in a fantasy-like forest featuring Athenian lovers, fairies and a group of actors.
Now I haven’t seen any professional productions of Shakespeare’s plays, but I thought I could manage one if the plot can be figured out. I studied Merchant of Venice and Julius Caesar in school after all! But A Midsummer Night’s Dream is arguably one of the most complex of his plays in as far as the plot is
concerned. To add to my complete clueless-ness about the plot, only a quarter of the play was in the languages I understood – English, Hindi and Bengali. The rest of it was in Tamil, Malayalam, Sinhalese and Sanskrit. The brilliant cast, except the 2 gorgeous (quite literally!) women who played was composed entirely of Indians and Sri-Lankans while the production otherwise was a completely British one. The entire cast was full of energy and I particularly liked the way the entire stage was utilized with colourful dances and extensive use of traditional Indian acrobatics. Half the cast seemed to be trained gymnasts in their own right! Take a look at the picture to get an idea of what I’m talking about –>
To further complement the multi-cultural, multi-lingual cast and sets, the music, performed by a 4-member live orchestra had some of the best percussion pieces I have been privy to in my limited experience. It had influences from Indian tribal beats, Carnatic music and Baul folk songs form Bengal.
I must confess I am a nobody as far as judging theatres / productions is concerned. What struck me the most however, was the whole concept of multi-lingual theatre. It has mass-appeal.. definitely! Besides, it showcases the power of Creativity – the power to collaborate and bring together disparate sets of people – emphasizing that no matter what the language, medium or circumstance – human emotion and reactions to it are the same. Only the expression is different.
I wish I had enough time to “Google” and “Wiki” about the play. I would have done a lot more justice to the opportunity!