Madhav Sharma celebrates William Shakespeare in his performance, Bharat, Blighty and the Bard
It was B.C. Ramachandra Sharma, the Kannada poet, who got Madhav Sharma interested in the works of William Shakespeare and taught him the beauty of words and language. “He saw my love of Shakespeare and encouraged it. I owe my love for Shakespeare to my uncle, K. Swaminthan, who was professor of English at Presidency College, Madras,” says Madhav, who has over five decades experience in the UK in professional theatre, radio, film and television. He is performing Bharat, Blighty and the Bard, directed by Miranda Lapworth, in the city.
The play explores how Shakespeare offered “a brave new world” to Madhav. “It’s wonderful to be back to my home town to perform,” says Madhav. “Shakespeare came from a little town. I am from Bangalore. Through this performance, I want to share my passion for Shakespeare with my fellow Bangaloreans,” says Madhav, who trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, London.
Madhav wrote the play after his visit to Kochi in January. “The Kochi Reading Group invited me for their Shakespeare Festival, the founder of the group Indira Outcalt suggested I write something about the similarities between Shakespeare’s life and my life, she told me, ‘you know there are parallels between your life and his.’ She said not to be shy and to write it. I contacted Miranda, whom I’ve known for many years, and we collaborated for this production. The play has some of Shakespeare’s words and some of mine.”
Madhav says Shakespeare isn’t just meant for the intellectual and the high-browed. “ I believe his texts are badly taught. His works need to be spoken and dramatised, that’s the best way to learn it.”
Bharat, Blighty and the Bard has been well-received by audiences in Kochi. Madhav says people must watch it to really feel the magic and the actor’s passion for Shakespeare. The play is being staged at Jagriti Theatre, Whitefield on May 3 at 8 p.m. and on May 4 at 3 p.m. and 6.30 p.m. Tickets are priced at Rs. 300 and are available at bookmyshow.com and at the venue. Call 41242879.