For a riot of laughter, comedy and hysterics – watch The Compleat Wrks Of Willm Shkspr which will be staged tomorrow

If you got the play in Royal Sheikh’s Spear Company (RSSC) you are obviously intrigued and want to know more and if you missed the pun it is imperative that you watch The Compleat Wrks Of Willm Shkspr (Abridged). Formed with the sole aim of staging The Compleat Wrks.., RSSC was founded by Pranay Manchanda, Madhav Mehta and Karam Vir Lamba. The three men run their own independent theatre companies in Delhi and when they took on this script by playwrights Adam Long, Daniel Singer, and Jess Winfield they decided to produce it under a new, joint banner to ensure that they would all be equally invested in its future, “This is a play we really believe in – we want to perform it as many times as we can and the RSSC is a permanent property created to ensure that we do,” says Karam Vir Lamba, director and actor of The Compleat Wrks..

The play is a parody of all of William Shakespeare’s plays, condensed and performed by three actors who hurtle through 37 plays in 97 minutes, while constantly juggling wigs, skirts, whacky props and their own ignorance. They are currently preparing for their show in Bangalore after getting phenomenal response in Delhi, Mumbai and Pune.

Karam says, “The genius of this script is that it appeals to people at both ends of the spectrum – there’s literally something in it for everyone. It has been said about the play that ‘if you like Shakespeare, you’ll like this play; and if you don’t like Shakespeare, you’ll love this play.’ Having performed the play a few times, I have observed that the audience who are familiar with the Bard’s works enjoy the show as they laugh and appreciate familiar passages and characters. But those with no knowledge of his works have a wonderful time too.”

In spite of being a parody, Karam calls the play an homage to Shakespeare. “Personally,” he says, “I think he would be far from offended, perhaps even pleased! It is unfortunate that in today’s day and age Shakespeare’s name is taken with a certain amount of seriousness. Many generations of students find his works inaccessible, his language hard to understand and his writing just a bit dull. But in his time, Shakespeare was an out-and-out master entertainer. His sole priority was to entertain. In a way, this play captures what Shakespeare’s plays must have been like in his own time – fast-paced, full of action and humour, a lot of audience participation and of course men dressed in women’s clothing.”

The director and actor speaks of the challenges of doing both, he says, “First, in the rehearsal process, whenever I’m acting I don’t have the external point of view that a director would ordinarily have. Also while I’m on stage during a show, I constantly inadvertently think about everything that’s going on in the run, rather than focusing on my performance. Most people don’t advise acting in a production that you’re directing for these reasons. But the truth is that this play is just so much fun to act in that I couldn’t bear to part with the opportunity. And so I deal with the challenges gladly – as long as I can get to be a part of the madness when the curtain rises.”

Expect shortness of breath from having laughed too hard on January 16, 7.30 p.m. at Chowdiah Memorial Hall. Tickets are available at www.bookmyshow.com. Or call 9871924677