Twelfth Night in Hinglish proved to be not only entertaining but also educative.

Everyone’s heard of William Shakespeare, and some, of the marvellous plays he wrote — “Romeo and Juliet”, “The Tempest”, “Twelfth Night”, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and more. Even when performed in another language, they are enjoyable because the stories are gripping. That is what Anurupa Roy and the group “Katkatha” did: performed “Twelfth Night – Almost” in ‘Hinglish’: a combination of Hindi and English, at Bala Vidya Mandir. Although the group is from Delhi, they have performed all over India, and this play, more than 50 times. The play was brought to schools and theatres in Chennai by the Prakriti Foundation, as part of the series Hamara Shakespeare.

The performance had the audience glued to their seats. The action was set against a shimmering backdrop. The bunraku puppets and puppeteers were captivating from the start. The puppets, dressed in perfectly tailored costumes, made a charming contrast to the stark black which the puppeteers wore.

A different tale

And the story begins? Viola and Sebastian are identical twins, separated in a ship wreck. Viola finds herself in Illyria and dresses up as a page boy (Cezario, played by Anurupa Roy) to find a job. The laughs began right from the start when Viola changes clothes to disguise herself as a boy. And, there’s Lady Olivia (played by Choiti Ghosh) who refuses to come out of mourning, and is being wooed by the Duke Orsino (played by Sunil Gupta). Olivia instead falls in love with Cezario! The pompous steward Malvolio (played by Manish) drew the most laughs. He is tricked into thinking that Olivia loves him. Each pursuing their loves, or trying to evade the pursuer results in chaos.

Everyone felt the ending was the best as the crazy plot is resolved. And Lady Olivia doesn’t have to marry Viola, because Sebastian arrives just in time. It’s Viola that the Duke marries. The music, a combination of jazz, western classical and folk, the simple props and animated movements of the puppets, with the actors chiming in at the right moments, had everyone spellbound. And Hinglish did not prove to be a barrier to understanding the play. As Anurupa Roy said, anyone knowing a bit of Hindi could easily understand the play. Perhaps the audience got to learn more Hindi and about Shakespeare through the play!

Spicy rendering

Recently, Katkatha came to our school and staged the play “Twelfth Night - Almost”. It is a story of love. Katkatha presented this play in a different way in ‘Hinglish’, with puppets. Though it was a very hot and sultry day we were very happy to watch this performance. The play was well dramatised and a little masala, made it spicy. Only when we saw this perfomance did we know that things can be done differently.

Sulaiman Sait, XII, Asan Memorial S.S.S.