Home Chennai Culture The Bard’s desi makeover

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    King Lear and Twelfth Night as you’ve never seen them, at the annual Hamara Shakespeare theatre festival this weekend

    We will never tire of Shakespeare and Prakriti Foundation is out to prove this once again with their take on the Bard. The sixth edition of the annual Hamara Shakespeare theatre festival, pays homage to three of his greatest classics. The plays get an Indian twist and Shakespearean characters go completely desi. They have roped in theatre groups travelling  from across India like Neel Chaudhuri (Tadpole Repertory) and Anirudh Nair of Wide Aisle Productions from New Delhi, Kashmir-based M K  Raina, and Atul Kumar of The Company Theatre from Mumbai.

    Made for India
    Prolific theatre director-actor, Atul Kumar’s  (The Company Theatre) Piya Behrupiya, a translation of Twelfth Night,  is  a much awaited play. Amitosh Nagpal (who scripted Gulaabi Gang) has done the translation. “The play lends itself beautifully to the Indian setting and texture with song, dance, poetry and high drama and passion, cross dressing and mistaken identities, misplaced love and fights,”says Kumar, about his fascination with Twelfth Night. What’s the biggest challenge of adapting a Shakespeare’s play? “The essential element is often misplaced and forgotten or misinterpreted. If you crack that, I feel you have cracked his world,” answers the director.

    One with humanity
    Second one (Badshah Pather) is by the popular Kashmiri theatre veteran M K Raina, who has picked King Lear.  It is performed by a Kashmiri group of traditional artists, working in their centuries old native form called Bhand Pather, which is a form of farcical theatre. “It’s a  unique experiment to incorporate elements of a classic English drama into the folk theatre style of Kashmir,”says the director. So why are the Bard’s plays such crowd pullers?“They touch each and every chord as they talk of humanity and values,” is how Kumar likes to put it.
    Badshah Pather will be staged today and Piya Behrupiya tomorrow.
    — Neelima Menon

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