WORLD SHAKESPEARE FEST 2012 IN UK
Dhaka Theatre to stage The Tempest in traditional styleCultural Correspondent
It is hard to imagine Shakespearean characters singing and dancing in the typical manner of the traditional performing art forms of Bangladesh. And this difficult task has been made possible by Dhaka Theatre: actors of the troupe will present characters of Shakespeare’s ‘The Tempest’ following the traditional theatre of the region, the storyline, however, will remain the same.
Dhaka Theatre will stage two shows of the local version of Shakespeare’s ‘The Tempest’ at the ongoing World Shakespeare Festival 2012 in London next month.
The greatest ever festival of its kind featuring almost 70 Shakespeare productions, organised by famous Royal Shakespeare Company, began on April 23, the 448th birth anniversary of William Shakespeare. Thirty seven troupes from across the globe will stage the bard’s 37 plays in respective native languages in the festival which will continue till September 9 in different cities in the UK.
Dhaka Theatre will stage ‘The Tempest’ at the over 400-year old Global Theatre in the UK on May 7 and on the following day. Prior to the scheduled departure towards London on May 4, Dhaka Theatre will stage The Tempest today at the National Theatre Hall of Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy following a technical show on Thursday.
‘This is the first time any Bangla-language play is going to be staged at the 450-year old Globe Theatre, where Shakespeare himself used to perform in his lifetime’ informed Nasiruddin Yousuff, director of the play, to New Age.
Fifteen artistes have worked hard since last November regularly at the rehearsal room in this experimental production, which has been adapted in traditional narratives by Rubaiyat Ahmed from the Shakespearean five-act play that is set on a remote island, where Prospero, the exiled Duke of Milan, plots to restore his daughter Miranda to her rightful place, using illusion and skilful manipulation.
‘Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” will be presented through the rich traditional performing art forms of the country to delight the western audience in the festival. The production is a unique combination of traditional Manipuri nata pala and traditional performing art forms of the Bengalis comprising of music-dance-narration-dialogue forms,’ expressed a thrilled Yousuff.
‘Moreover, Inclusion of folk motifs, boxes and back curtains adorned with rickshaw paintings and different traditional musical instruments like khol, tabla, mandira and others in a Shakespearean play would definitely bring an interesting flavour,’ hopes Yousuff, chief of Dhaka Theatre.
‘Even after the transformation, we hope the audience will get the taste of Shakespeare’s play reflect the authenticity of the Shakespearian period,’ her added.
Regarding the experimentation, adapter Rubaiyat Ahmed told New Age, ‘It was a great challenge to recreate the Shakespearean play in the traditional narratives. Since, the traditional narrative form has the potential to incorporate any global literature, I could also overcome the hurdles.’
The play is starring Shimul Yousuf as Ariel, Shahiduzzaman Selim as Alonso and Kamal Bayzid as Stefano; and introducing Rubol Noor Lodi as Prospero and Esha Yousuf as Miranda. Two Manipuri artistes -- Nilmoni Sinha and Bidhan Sinha -- are also part of the cast.
Since the performing space at the Globe Theatre in the UK is not like typical proscenium theatre or any other theatres in the Bangladesh, British actor-director-educator Imogen Butler-Cole, who works with the theatre company The What Works, is helping the Dhaka Theatre artistes to be fit at the over 400 year-old Globe Theatre in London. As the producer, she is also co-ordinating between Dhaka Theatre and the organising body of the Shakespeare Festival.
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