Aamir Raza Husain’s The Lion in Winter promises authenticity, a dash of history and a lot of pageantry
A tale of kings and queens from 12th century England might seem like a heavy dish to sit down to, at today’s performance of the play, The Lion in Winter, at the ITC Grand Chola. But director Aamir Raza Husain is unfazed. “A story is a story. It doesn’t matter if it happened in Czechoslovakia or Japan, as long as it engages the audience. In fact, I could change the name from Henry II to Hariram and it would still be of interest as it is about power and kingship,” he says.
A re-staging of the 1966 drama by American playwright James Goldman, it looks at the personal and political conflicts of King Henry II of England and his family. So we wonder, will it draw parallels to our socio-political situation? Pat comes the reply, “I hate socially relevant plays. If I needed to give a lesson, I would go to a classroom, and if I wanted to preach, I would go to a temple or a church. I only do plays with dramatic import that will entertain.”
In fact, this is not the first time the creative director of Delhi-based Stagedoor theatre group is performing the play. “We’d done a version in the early 1990s. I’m revisiting it because it has dramatic value. While much of the cast has changed, my wife Virat and I are still part of it,” says Husain, who came to the city last year with Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap. Known for their grandiose sets and authenticity, he says we can look forward to period-specific costumes and music from the times (mostly organ), in the play which is being brought down in association with Aircel.
Today at 7.45 pm, at the ITC Grand Chola. By invite only. Details: 22200000
Surya Praphulla Kumar