Romeo, Juliet and Seven Clowns | Manohar Khushalani

Romeo Juliet & Seven Clowns
Colourful Costumes Lively Production

A Review by Manohar Khushalani
Published Earlier in IIC Diary May-June 2013

The only thing this play had in common with Shakespeare’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’ is the story line on which the spoof is based. Thankfully, the names of characters had been kept the same as those in the classic, otherwise one would have been at a loss on how to relate to the title of the play. The story has been given the look and feel of a folk lore in the tradition of romantic tales, such as those about; Umar-Marvi, Reshma-Shera, Sasi Punoh and what have you. Purple Mangoes is essentially part of, CEVA, a street theatre group, and it was therefore far more challenging for them to put up such an abstract, but artistic, rendition of the theme. Yet, they managed to pull it off as a stand alone theatre piece, but, it was definitely not Shakespeare. Which is why, one came across such divergent reactions from the audience. Not withstanding, everyone danced with the performers at the end.

The director of the play was Sukhmani Kohli, a woman, yet there were no women in the play. Even Juliet was performed by a male actor, who however, never made us feel the absence of a female cast. The choice of Bulleh Shah’s Sufi poetry would ordinarily have been considered bizarre, yet again, it was some how carried off, perhaps, because the group, which performs largely in rural Punjab, preferred drawing from its own roots.

Experimentation had been unleashed with aplomb in this play. The biggest. being the usage of clowns as tragic figures. According to Kohli, the play is an attempt to go beyond the traditional idea of the red nosed clown who makes people laugh, and see it as an essential part of a human soul that is naïve, warm, accessible, eager for life and ‘ready for anything’. There was jugglery, a live orchestra and choreographed blocking. So much fluidity and coordination of movements with music, would not have been possible without intense improvisational routines. It seems that the actors went through a month long workshop that helped them discover how to portray their ‘own inner clown’

IIC Diary May-June 2013

William Shakespeare’s Play: Richard III

Playwright: William Shakespeare
Director: Guy Roberts
Group: Prague Shakespeare Company, Czech Republic
Language: English
Duration: 2 hrs 50 mins

The Play
Shakespeare’s conclusion to his epic Wars of the Roses chronicles, Richard III is a riveting portrayal of the politics of power, both personal and political, at their most devious and bloody. Deformed in body and spirit, this depraved madman is obsessed with becoming King of England. Does he fall? Of course, but not before he has taken all of us on his wickedly entertaining ride. Jealous and crippled, Richard of Gloucester murders his brothers, nephews, and any opposition to become King Richard III. In the end, Henry of Richmond raises an army, kills Richard in battle, and becomes King Henry VII.

Director’s Note
Like Richard eating away at anyone in his path, the play Richard III gnaws on our global consciousness. It is a story that plays out time and time again, and, if anything, has become even more relevant now, over four hundred years after it was written, with corrupt leaders doing absolutely anything to achieve and maintain power. I am excited to present a new production of this timely play supported by the exciting and dynamic multi-national artists we have assembled for this special event. PSC is continental Europe’s only professional English-language Shakespeare company, employing artists from across Europe, Asia and North America, by bringing together a group of artists from many different cultural sensibilities. We are able to come together, united by the words of William Shakespeare, as we explore the deep resonances this play brings out concerning national identity, politicians, corruption, honor, duty and the extreme measures, people – both good and bad, will push themselves to in their ambitious climb to the heights of power.

The Director
Guy Roberts is the Founding Artistic Director of Prague Shakespeare Company (PSC). Guy won the 2018 Best Actor Houston Theatre Award for his performance of the Poet in An Iliad. Guy has been awarded the TG Masaryk Medal of Honor from the Masaryk Democratic Movement in recognition for his work promoting arts and artistic freedom, and the inaugural Sidney Berger Award from the Shakespeare Theatre Association in recognition of his outstanding talent and dedication to the works of William Shakespeare. His award-winning work as actor, director and producer has been seen in over 200 productions in the US, Czech Republic, France, the Netherlands, India, Hungary, Austria, Slovakia, Poland, Qatar and Egypt and has been honored with multiple awards and over 100 US theatre award-nominations for Best Actor, Director and Production.

The Playwright
William Shakespeare was a renowned English poet, playwright, and actor born in 1564 in Stratford-upon-Avon. Shakespeare was a prolific writer during the Elizabethan and Jacobean ages of British theatre (sometimes called the English Renaissance or the Early Modern Period). Shakespeare’s works include 38 plays, 2 narrative poems, 154 sonnets, and a variety of other poems.

The Group
Based in Prague, Czech Republic, the award-winning Prague Shakespeare Company presents professional theatre productions, workshops, and other theatrical events of the highest quality, conducted primarily in English by a multinational ensemble of professional theatre artists, with an emphasis on the plays of William Shakespeare. Celebrating its 12th year, PSC has entertained, enriched, enlightened and inspired students and audiences not only in the Czech Republic but in India, United States, Hungary, France, Egypt, Qatar, Netherlands and elsewhere around the world.

Cast & Credits
Richard Duke of Gloucester/King Richard III Guy Roberts
Queen Elizabeth Jessica Boone/Lady Anne Deputy High Commissioner Jan Thompson, OBE
Edward IV Lane Davies
Buckingham Scott Bellefeuille
Richmond/Henry VII Taylor Napier
Clarence/Catesby Jeff Smith
Margaret Abigail Rice
Duchess of York Julie Josephson
Hastings/Lord Chamberlain John Poston
Archbishop Robert Orr
Lord Rivers Dan Brown
Lord Grey Stanislav Callas
Lord Stanley Bob Boudreaux
Tyrrel Vanessa Gendron
Ratcliffe Grant Podelco
Sir Robert Brackenbury/Keeper of the tower David Fisher
Princess Elizabeth Natassia Bustamente
Prince Edward Julian Bellefueille

Light Designer Premysl Janda
Costume Designer Eva Bellefeuille
Hair & Make-up Designer Eva Nyklickova
Stage Manager Eric Sammons
Assistant Stage Manager Kris Ayers

Playwright William Shakespeare
Director Guy Roberts

Director, Prague Shakespeare Company
U Havlickovych Sadu 1531/11, Prague 2,
Czech Republic- 120000
M: +420 776469159

William Shakespeare’s ENCRYPTION (HAMLET) Director: Susheel Kant Mishra

Playwright: William Shakespeare
Dramaturgy: Vishala Ramachandra Mahale
Director: Susheel Kant Mishra
Group: NSD Students’ Diploma Production, New Delhi
Language: Hindi
Duration: 1 hr

The Play
Encryption is based on William Shakespeare’s Hamlet. It is an attempt to weave a parallel narrative which represents the present day. At the centre of this narrative is a person who is troubled by the ever increasing absurdity and contradictions of the society. Indecisive –‘To be or not to be’ (Hamlet) and the inference of a person from the present time, in varying situations are juxtaposed; do they match? Duration of the events in this play is one day. Two coffin makers/gravediggers are making another coffin. Along with the narrative of Hamlet, a coffin is being constructed. The coffin which is being constructed is waiting for a corpse. Completion of the coffin, hence awaiting death, is the circle that brings an end to the performance.

Director’s Note
My association with the characters of the play Hamlet goes back to my initial days in theatre. The conflict, not being able to decide, and drifting between being and non-being becomes the destiny of Hamlet. Even today, I observe similar situations around me. By introducing the character, I intend to address the links of such situations. As a student of Theatre Technique and Design I started to work with fellow performers, and our explorations began with sources from space, scale, texture and colour. During this process, performers experimented various ways of expressing, which in turn developed into a body of performers and designers, working in tandem. Along with this, through installations, we tried to explore sexuality, sense of loss etc.

The Director
Susheel belongs to Satna, Madhya Pradesh. As a member of Rang Vidushak, he participated in various national and international theatre festivals. He did a one-year certificate course from National School of Drama, Sikkim Theatre Training Centre. He has worked as a guest artist/designer/visiting faculty at Madhya Pradesh School of Drama, where he has conducted stage-craft classes. He has designed sets for plays directed by NSD Direction Students and Santanu Bose. Susheel has designed property and head-gears for the play Skandgupt directed by Alok Chatterjee. He has directed Pagla Ghoda, Bhasa’s Urubhangam and Panchhi Aise Aate Hain.

Vishala Ramachandra Mahale, graduated from NSD in 2014 with specialization in Theatre Techniques and Design. He has written many plays including ​Inquilaab Zindaabad, Pratiksha, MKD, Nidaan, Dot Dash Dream Delusion, Inertia.303, 01:12:58 (A play based on Lakshman Purbathe Massacre), Incision 66M, Mad Man’s Diary (based on a story by Lu Xun), Jehanara (A play based on a Novel by Lyane Guillaume) to name a few. He has translated and developed performance texts Roti (based on a Kannada story by P. Lankesh),​ Tarr Aaya/Tarr Arrives (based on a Kannada story by Devanuru Mahadeva); adapted Dr. Faustus, Titus Andronicus, Peer Gynt, A Vacant Lot (based on a play by Ota Shogo), Hamlet Machine (based on Heiner Muller’s play), A Doll’s House Story, ​Infinite (based on Proof by David Auburn). He has co-scripted short films February 29, Yeduretu; feature length films Spaces for Rent… and Kaggantu in Kannada. Currently Vishala is working as a freelance designer, playwright, dramaturge, and director.

Cast & Credits
On Stage: Sanjeev Gupta, Rachana Gupta, Sarfaraz Ali Mirza, ShalucYadav, Debashree Chakraborty, Indira Tiwari,
Bhagyashree Tarke, Bulkic Kalita, Melody Dorcus, Param Badhania, Jayanta Rabha, Guneet Singh, Parag Baruah, Punsilemba Meitei, Ravi Chahar, Rakesh Kumar, Rahul Kumar

Assistance in Light: Kiran Kumar
Assistance in Set: Shyam Kumar Sahni
Make-up: Parag Baruah, Rachna Gupta
Sound/Music: Santosh Kumar (Sandy)
Sound Operation: Melody Dorcas, Ajay Khatri
Video & Operation: Ujjwal Kumar
Video Execution: Pranshu Chowdhary, Nitin Kumar
Installation & Exhibition: Maneesh Pachairu, Dillip Majhi, Pooja Dange
Assistance in Installation & Exhibition: Ankur, Melody Dorcus, Tushar Karan, Shohaib Tyagi, Akki Kumar, Akash Srivastav, Hemant Raj Konwar, Kavita Yadav, Chaman, Ashish Kumar Nayak, Nirutpol Mohan, Kamal Anand, Shamsher Ahmed
Choreography: Vikram Mohan
Poster & Brochure: Ujjwal Kumar
Production Controller: Mahadev Singh Lakhawat

Playwright: William Shakespeare
Dramaturge: Vishala R. Mahale
Concept, Design & Direction: Susheel Kant Mishra