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The Magic of Theatre
|by Fatima Chowdhury|
When I go to the theatre the first thing that I notice is the lively atmosphere of talk and laughter around me. There is an excitement that comes with not knowing what to expect from the stage in front of you when the large curtain finally opens. As you settle down to your seat, you read through the programme looking for an insight into what kind of a story is about to unfold. Then, the lights are dimmed and the noise fades into an attentive silence. Soon you find yourself engrossed as the characters come alive and take you along their journey. But, a good theatrical event is more than just story-telling. It is an experience that you cherish well after the final curtain comes down with the applause of the audience. This January, Tim Supple's acclaimed production of Shakespeare's 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' is one such theatrical delight.
Performed in different languages including English, Tamil, Malayalam, and even a little Sanskrit, the play has all the ingredients to keep the audience excited. The tour presented by The British Council has already performed to packed houses in Mumbai Bangalore and Kolkata before travelling to Delhi. After the end of the India tour, the play is scheduled to be staged in Australia, US and Canada.
Supple knew that while a visit to India would be the first step in putting the production together, it was also important to find the right subject. He explored Indian folk tales and various classic texts and poems including the Mahabharata and Ramayana for inspiration. The Arabian Night and the epic poem Gilgamesh was another consideration along with the works of Shakespeare, where the stories could be effectively brought to life in a large scale production. However, Supple finally settled on Shakespeare's most well-know works -- A Midsummer Night's Dream -- as being ideal with its layered plots and characters to create a theatrical journey with a diverse group of actors from different regions. But what made it all so interesting was that Supple broke away from the usual conventions that we have come to expect from Shakespearean plays to tell the story in his own distinct style.
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