Home Hyderabad Entertainment An ode to the bard

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Rajat Kapoor and his cast pay tribute to Shakespeare through their funny interpretations of four of his classics

Clowns in a circus is a given. But how will they fit into the classic tragedies of Shakespeare? That’s exactly what Bollywood actor and director Rajat Kapoor is doing as part of the Shakespeare Comedy Theatre Festival (SCTF), at Shilpakala Vedika. Bringing the clowns under the limelight and introducing them as the lead characters of four plays written by the Bard of Avon, Rajat has re-written and directed Macbeth, Hamlet, Nothing Like Lear and As You Like It. Visiting Hyderabad for the first time, the plays will feature popular actors like Kalki Koechlin, Vinay Pathak, Ranvir Shorey and Cyrus Sahukar.

Why clowns? Says Kapoor, who has been associated with theatre and SCTF for over a decade now, “I love clowns. They bring an element of distance, abstraction and a sense of purity – which offer important tools to make a theatrical piece. I had done a play called C for Clown in 1999. It was a great experience – and we also discovered a new language – gibberish.”

Macbeth, Hamlet and Nothing Like Lear are tragedy dramas, while As You Like It is a comic play. Kapoor says that there was no particular reason behind choosing these four plays.

“The first in this series was Hamlet and this was in 2008. Back then, the idea was to do it as a stand alone piece, there was to be no follow up. After three years, I thought why not do another? That was when I did Nothing Like Lear and this time we did it with just one actor – a clown. These are texts that have excited generations of theatre practitioners,” he adds.

The dark side of the clown
Cast: Kalki Koechlin,
Vinay Pathak, Ranvir Shorey
The clowns draw us into the world of Macky B (Ranvir) and his Lady (Kalki) in Macbeth – What is Done is Done. The protagonist is a good man, brave soldier and a loyal friend until he meets three weird sisters. About his role Shorey says, “This is the first time we have tried to bring the darker emotion of a clown. Macky B is a clown who in time becomes vicious and murderous.” Koechlin, who plays Lady Macbeth, says, “In this play, we will introduce dark humour in a lighter manner. People will laugh throughout the play but, will get a shock towards the end,” she warns. Details: On February 11, 4.30 pm

All mixed up
Cast: Vinay Pathak, Kalki Koechlin, Sujay Saple, Neil Bhoopalam, Puja Sarup and Namit Das
This piece, Hamlet – The Clown Prince – has a bunch of clowns who misinterpret the script and make a mess of it. Vinay Pathak plays the role of Hamlet. Kapoor has tweaked the script and removed a few important scenes to make it look as though the pages got mixed up. About working with Kapoor, Das, who plays the roles of Claudius and Horatio, says, “It’s a scary place to be as an actor, because you don’t know what you are going to do. He uses our nervous energy to come up with interesting nuances in acting.” Details: February 11, 7.30 pm onwards

direIn dire straits
Cast: Vinay Pathak, Cyrus Sahukar, Aadar Malik, Joy Fernandes, Faezeh Jalali and Shruti Vyas.
This time around, the clowns are financially on a downward spiral which, in turn, creates differences in the group. The play I Don’t Like it – As you Like it shows how couples go through their own broken relationships. Here, the men play women and vice-versa. Sahukar, who plays the role of Soso, the clown with his puppet Toto, says, “My character is a pot smoker, regular drinker and has acute self-confidence problems. He also has a major problem because he never gets to play the lead.”
Details: On February 12, 4.30 pm

learLove, think, cry
Cast: Vinay Pathak
Nothing Like Lear revolves around just one clown, played by Vinay Pathak. Kapoor portrays a clown who has not stopped crying for days and has plenty of reasons to keep going – one among which is love. The one he loved the most has left him for good. Also, he is getting old. However, the main reason for being depressed is because he has been forced to perform this play. Details: On February 12, 7.30 pm Tickets Rs 600 onwards Details : bookmyshow.in

— Nishad Neelambaran

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