Saturday, January 12, 2008

A Midsummer Night's Dream

A Shakespearean play. One that I have not read before. My attempt to read the synopsis of the play on the net didn't last more than 2 lines of text. All that I knew when I entered the Auditorium was that Midsummer is a romantic comedy, involving 2 couples!

When Tim Supple, the director explained that the play is performed in 6 languages, little did i know that he meant all the 6 languages were going to be used on the same stage, in the same performance! The play spanned English, Malayalam, Tamil[I cannot differentiate between the 2 languages, tho can attempt to follow a few words,them being Dravidian languages], Bengali[can only realize that the language being spoken presently is Bengali], Marathi[hmmm, not really sure if it was used in the play, or maybe I did not realize Marathi was being spoken], Hindi[aah, one language i could follow thankfully, but was used rather pitifully!] and a little bit of Sanskrit. When i first heard the Duke speak in Malayalam, I was spellbound!The next few minutes were painful trying to interpret which language was being spoken n what the character intended to say! Tim Supple's advice to us to relax and watch the play even if we do not understand many of these languages became clear now. And we did the same. And this, I must say, is the best example that art has no language barriers. We could follow the play without having to follow each dialogue . The dialogues themselves became rather trivial and the emphasis of the actors lay more on their voice modulation, dialogue delivery and their body language itself. But the dialogues in this play were by no means substandard as the English verses in the play were indeed beautiful!

This, by no means was the end of the creativity and abstractions by the Director. This in fact was the beginning! His interpretation of Midsummer is more crude than sensitive, more vibrant than mellow, more abstract than conventional. It does not deviate from the actual story, but his portrayal of the story is simply commendable. His fairies do not fit the general notion we have of fairies, with silvery wings, angelic faces, beautiful silken linen etcetera. His idea is a welcome change. They are naughty tree dwellers, adept in all sorts of acrobatics, so nimble and agile on stage. They actually climb up ropes on stage, jump on to the stage from heights of say 8 ft! There is simply a lot of energy in the entire play!! It also is very bold and explicit in showing the bond between the lovers in the play, but not in an embarrassing way.There is tremendous fire and passion in the play, the music adding to it with it's crescendo. The music, the stage settings, the dance sequence, the song sequence were all brilliant. Puck is simply the life of the play, with his naughty look, his omniprescence in such an unnoticeable way and his subtle ways of changing scenes on stage!

Overall a very very interesting interpretation of Shakespeare's play, one at the pinnacle of creativity, a brilliant change from the usual interpretations involving Shakespearean English.


vlad said...

pucked up.. the fact that an act is beyond lingual bounds does strike a chord. And no wonder Puck was the protoganist. That explains much of it!

Karthik Rao said...

well well..a play made including 6 languages is too good for any director.
It sure needs a lot of thoughts and ideas to make it sound appealing.
No wonder that the play was too impressive according to this review by ashwini. I'm sure she is one of those lucky ones who could watch the play.
PS: Review is excellent. :)

wordout said...

first off, a very well written review. I liked the part about how you've explained the directors interpretation of Midsummer.

Considering that you were able to understand the play without being able to follow all the languages means that the play was well enacted and directed. But to me, dialogs do matter a lot. I guess personally I'm not too sure how well I would have enjoyed it :)