Indian playwrights interpret Shakespeare in their own way, at the ‘Hamara Shakespeare Festival’

Shakespeare by any other name is as sweet, says the Prakriti Foundation, as they bring the third edition of the ‘Hamara Shakespeare Festival’ to the city. The festival reinvents the works of the great Bard of Avon, giving them an Indian twist, and will be on from 9 to 15 September.

In Anurupa Roy’s ‘Almost Twelfth Night’, based on Shakespeare’s immortal comedy about two siblings separated during a storm at sea, the love triangles, cross-dressing and all the ensuing chaos, come alive through bunraku puppets.

‘Lear Lahiri’, by K.V. Akshara, is a take on King Lear, which concentrates on the main character, developing it into an intimate performance. The state of mind of Lear forms the focus of the play, as he battles one of mankind’s greatest fears — old age.

‘About Caliban: Also About Colombo’, by Parnab Mukherjee and the students of Loyola College, derives on several texts from the likes of Peter Handke, Edward Kamau Braithwaite, Sumathy and several poets from Jaffna, besides Shakespeare. It explores the desire of the fringe to be a part of the mainstream, and reworks ‘The Tempest’ as voyage to find ‘Caliban’, amongst the dissenting maps of India and Sri Lanka.

Then Rajat Kapoor’s ‘Hamlet—the Clown Prince’, which was staged last month at the MetroPlus Theatre Fest to critical acclaim returns to Chennai.

The play follows a bunch of clowns trying to stage Hamlet. They misinterpret the text, find new meaning in it and often make a mess of things, as they throw out some important scenes and play around with the order of events, as though the pages got mixed up. But through all of this, they are simply looking for the essence of Hamlet, and its context in our own times.

Donor passes for all the shows are available at Landmark (Nungambakkam and City Centre), Nuts & Spices (Adyar and Anna Nagar), Silkworm Boutique (Khader Nawaz Khan Road), Colour Plus (in Spencer Plaza) and Shilpi (Alwarpet, Nungambakkam).

Daily tickets are also available at the venue before the shows. For more details, call 24527941 or 66848506.

Almost Twelfth Night’

Language: Hinglish

Venue: Spaces, No. 1, Elliots Beach Road, Besant Nagar

Time: September 10, 7 p.m.

‘Lear Lahiri’

Language: Kannada

Venue: Rama Rao Kala Mantap (Karnataka Sangha), 111 Habibullah Road, T. Nagar

Time: September 11, 7 p.m.

‘About Caliban: Also About Colombo’

Language: English

Venue: Spaces, No. 1, Elliots Beach Road, Besant Nagar

Time: September 12, 7 p.m.

‘Hamlet—the Clown Prince’

Language: English and Gibberish

Venue: Museum Theatre, Egmore

Time: September 13, 7 p.m.

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