Tim Supple’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream

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 hereand 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!

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29 thoughts on “Tim Supple’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream

  1. hmm.. multilingual theatre.. i dont have any idea about it but still i can make 1 thing out is multilingual theatre does include some excellent acting skills for it to be understood by people of different origins and linguistics!!

  2. @ KK,

    Yupp… totally.. You should. Whether you like it or not is a different thing but it will be quite fascinating to watch!

    @ Dushyant

    Bang on! … Sometimes even looking at the expressions and manner of speaking i could kinda guess what he must eb saying in Tamil, Malayalam etc… Taking into account the context of the play, of course!

  3. @ Preeti

    Good you went for it. Incredible it is!.. Especially the energy of the actors and the colourful and wholistic use of stage!

    Thanks for dropping by.. Do keep coming back! 🙂

    @ unnikuttan

    Haven’t heard of five guys named Moe. But will google out some information about it! … Thanks! 🙂

    and Thanks for dropping by!

  4. In India, theatre tickets can cost anywhere between 200 – 500 … roughly… im sure there’d be exceptions on either side of it!

    I had been to The Phantom of the Opera in Singapore.. I think it cost me around 80 SGD …

  5. William Shakespeare’s, ‘A Midsummer Nights Dream’, has never before created such fascination, as Tim Supple’s multi-lingual production has re-energized the historical play. It is the best damn show I have seen in my life. Mind you I’m only 19…

  6. @ Olivia: Thats great! – Although age aint got anything to do with Art! … But its good to see u appreciating Tim Supple’s alternate theatre initiative so well! 🙂

  7. Hi! I just got home from seeing this production in San Francisco. It. Was. Fabulous. The sets are wonderful, and it was so dynamic physically (which makes a lot of sense for this story, what with all the upheaval and running around in the woods) – the acrobatics on the ropes and fabric and bamboo frame were just amazing, and I love the sparseness of everything else in contrast. The music were like another character, and really reminded me how well-done orchestrations help to tell a story. And the ensemble…I only understand one of the languages spoken (English), but felt that the performances conveyed everything they needed to. It reminded me of watching opera, which is usually not in a language I understand, but loses nothing for lack of translation. The passion and comedy came through in all 7 languages. I can see how some might find it challenging, but that’s not a bad thing, in my book. So glad I saw this!

  8. @ Elisa

    Thanks for dropping by!

    Indeed.. the energy totally grips you! — and what I also particularly liked are the very ethnic, Indian drum-beats.. The music was very well ‘connected’ to whatever was happening on-stage..

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