As we celebrate 450 years of William Shakespeare today, theatre personalities recall how the Bard’s magic unfolded in their lives

Today is a special Wednesday for Shakespeare lovers across the globe. We celebrate 450 years of the Bard and the event calls for celebrations. The day promises to witness a big bash in the form of celebrating his plays, poems and other writings across the world. Hyderabad joins the bash.

Theatre director Rammohan Holagundi of Nishumbita theatre group eagerly awaits the day when he can bring out and dust his volumes of Shakespeare gifted to him by his friends. “I was very passionate about Shakespeare and would read a lot,” he recalls.

Universal themes

Shakespeare’s universal themes of love, power, greed and complexities have paved the way for successful movies and theatrical productions. In Bollywood, Vishal Bharadwaj has transformed his love for Shakespeare on the big screen with his adaptations in movies such as Haider, Maqbool and Omkara. “Shakespeare might have written his works hundreds of years ago but his themes are relevant even today,” states Rammohan as he connects the present political scene to Shakespeare’s dark drama Macbeth. Interestingly, Rammohan claims to be the only director who presented full-fledged Shakespearean plays in the city in its original form. “We staged Julius Ceasar and Macbeth twice in Hyderabad. It is a big challenge to attempt Shakepearean plays as one needs to read it at least five times to understand its inner meaning.”

Literature forever

Agreeing with him is Samahaara theatre director Rathnashekar Reddy. His theatre group had presented a reading session of Hamlet. “Understanding Shakespeare and his complex sentence structures is not so easy. If the actors need to be on a different level to deliver the lines and play their parts, the audience needs to have a different mindset to comprehend a Shakespearean drama,” he says. Connecting Shakespeare’s themes to the modern day society, he says, “Shakespeare’s success lies in creating characters which are real. Any good literature which deals with human beings and their issues will appeal forever,” he says.

Shakespeare’s stories have been explored time and again. Regional theatre too has seen Shakespeare’s writings being adapted for plays. Some directors have even taken inspirations in their productions. Saurabh Gharipurkar of Udaan Performing Arts played King Lear as a student in one of the acting workshops. “My mentor and Marathi playwright V.W. Shivarkar’s Ek Lear Asahi showed how people like Lear are found in plenty in the society,” he says. He equates Marathi drama Nata Samrat to King Lear. “Nata Samrat told the story of an actor who gives away everything to his children. In the end, he becomes a beggar and suffers a lot,” he says.

Popular Shakespearean phrases/ proverbs used

- All that glitters is not gold (The Merchant of Venice)

- All’s well that ends well (Title of the play)

- As good luck would have it (The Merry Wives of Windsor)

- Be-all and the end-all (Macbeth)

- Break the ice (The Taming of the Shrew)

- Brevity is the soul of wit (Hamlet)

- Conscience does make cowards of us all (Hamlet)

- Come what come may (Macbeth)

- The game is up (Cymbeline)

- Give the devil his due (I, Henry IV)

- Jealousy is the green-eyed monster (Othello)

- It was Greek to me (Julius Caesar)

- Heart of gold (Henry V)

- In my mind's eye (Hamlet)

- Kill with kindness (Taming of the Shrew)

- Knock knock! Who's there? (Macbeth)

- Love is blind (Merchant of Venice)

- Much Ado About Nothing (Title of the play)

- Murder most foul (Hamlet)

- Star-crossed lovers (Romeo and Juliet)

- Pound of flesh (The Merchant of Venice)

- Sound and fury (Macbeth)

- Such stuff as dreams are made on (The Tempest)

- What's done is done (Macbeth)

- What's in a name? A rose by any other name would smell as sweet. (Romeo and Juliet)

- The world's my oyster (Merry Wives of Windsor)

(Source: Internet)