Friday, March 16, 2007

This Dream's a bright and colourful treat for the eyes

Though the aim is to make money no one's compromising on the bold vision he and his cast of 23 worked on at Auroville in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu.
Only about half the dialogue is in English - the rest is in a mixture of Hindi, Bengali, Tamil, Sinhalese, Malayalam, Marathi and Sanskrit...
Indian designer Sumant Jayakrishnan and lighting designer Zuleikha Chaudhari have conjured up the essence of South Asia on stage: this Dream's a bright and colourful treat for the eyes.

The play is one of Shakespeare's most exotic works
The cast dance and sing, although Mr Supple says that he wants to avoid too clich├ęd a stage view of India.
Actors weave in and out of a tall bamboo frame and swing from ropes above the red soil of South Asia.
Tim Supple says the core of the play is highly relevant to Indians.
"At least a third of this company will have had severe family ruptures over marriage or career choice.
"So the dilemma of the play - the insistence by Egeus that his daughter Hermia marry the man he chose for her - is much closer to many of this company than it would be in Britain.
"Also many of them will live where belief in the spirit-world is much stronger than in the UK.
"And extreme differences between rich and poor, which underlie so much of the play, are much more alive in India than in the West."

The play has started a commercial run in the UK
Archana Ramaswamy, who plays Titania, says the actors haven't had to look far for parallels between Shakespeare's story and their own lives.
"The complete madness that we all carry within ourselves - the vibrancy of Indian culture - the richness, the earthiness, the spirit... it's all there in the play. It's like the chaotic lives we all live!"
Chandan Roy Sanyal, playing Lysander, thinks Shakespeare isn't far removed from today's Bollywood.
"When we film a love story in India it's based on Romeo and Juliet. That's the essence of any love story: there is a girl and there is a boy. It's still prevalent in society right now. I've realised that Shakespeare was a very commercial writer."
This is a production for the open-minded.
By Vincent Dowd BBC arts reporter

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