I thought I'd start with something I wrote 4 years ago.. here goes..
If any of you theatre fanatics out there missed Tim Supple's briliantly directed and multi-lingual A Midsummer Night's Dream, feel really bad! Sponsored by the British Council, I happened to go for it by chance and witnessed India come alive through Shakespeare's comedy.
Yes, most of us have read one or another of Shakespeare's plays at some point in our school/college life. My interest started with the study of Julius Caesar, which I might add was so not done justice with in the inadequate ICSE system. Anyhow, I loved Hamlet and King Lear taught while I was doin the IB. Now there was some justice done to Shakespeare, we literally analyzed every word in the book and I'm so glad we did.
This particular production of AMND (I'm gonna use this abbreviation everytime I need to mention the name) was so far beyond what I had expected. It had 7 Indian languages and English, and almost every character spoke atleast 2 of the 8. I think the reason I enjoyed it so much was that the entire play was so Indianized. Right from Bottom's clan where one of his colleagues was wearing a dhoti and carryin a stick from which dangled, our very own indian pots and other steel vessels, clanging all over the stage. With actors from across the country and even the world, I loved the Indian music, I loved the idea that Shakespeare could actually be converted and shown in such a desi version breakin away from the monotony of being all English. It was like a wild dream come true and truly fascinating to see Puck (the cutest of the lot in his silly red underwear creating comeplete chaos among the characters with his unforgetable mischevious smile like a lil imp) convey Shakespeare in such fluent Hindi! The acrobatic stunts, which all the characters were amazing at, are also worth a special mention. Lighting, music were extremely good and the sets and costumes were gorgeous (such beautiful zari)! It was hilarious and surpassed all my expectations! I was in plain simple awe... the entire time! This production of AMND, I feel, gave Shakespeare and theatre a whole new dimension and genre! It was in one word - indescribeable!
Everytime we approach Shakespeare, we must learn to see and hear again. As he always gives us the most simple of surfaces though which we can glimpse the most complex images of ourselves. I'm not only giving the performance of AMND a standing ovation (which they actually received at the end when they all sang a beautiful song), but also trying to highlight how important and intriguing his works are, if studied with genuine interest.