Handlebards presents their humourous take on Shakespeare
Sir Ian McKellen chose the phrase ‘uproariously funny’ to aptly describe the theatre group HandleBards, famously known as the ‘cycling Shakespeare fans’ in the United Kingdom.
The four-member all-male troupe has clocked over 2,000 miles in and around the UK performing fast-paced productions of Shakespeare’s classics. It all started back in 2013 when Paul Moss, 24, set the HandleBards’ wheels in motion with a zest to present Shakespeare to the world in a simplistic manner. He says, “Shakespeare is so confusing. He died 400 years ago and yet his works, and his grand ways, continue to intrigue people around the world. As an Englishman, I really wanted to explore Shakespeare, understand him and make him/ his work understandable to people in a less confusing manner and make his work more accessible by taking it to different places.”
This ideology brought friends — Callum Brodie, Paul Moss, Tom Dixon, Callum Cheatle — together. “We were friends because Shakespeare was the unifying factor. We are like a family now, spending 24 hours a day together, travelling and performing,” Moss says.
Much of their work is influenced by British comedy, which Moss terms as “stupid and fun humour”. They also keenly follow American sitcoms and a few Youtube videos.
According to the troupe, Shakespeare needs to be experienced rather than read. “So many people are disillusioned, and never liked Shakespeare because they had to study. We perform to audiences as young as four years old, and ensure they have a funny experience, even if they don’t understand the language. At least that way, when they study Shakespeare at a later part of their lives, they will remember having a positive experience about Macbeth or A Midsummer Nights Dream,” Moss explains.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Hamlet. On January 15 – 17 and 29-31. At Jagriti. Tickets (`300) at the venue. Details: 41248298