Directors who have dared to grapple with the text of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” are: Peter Brook, 1970, RSC; Julie Taymor 2004 and Atul Kumar,2016,The Company Theatre.
The Pune show of “Khwaab Sa” was: breathtaking, powerful, besoting, besmirching . There is a palpable energy in the theatre universe when Atul Kumar casts his production to a city , and this time too; the crowd waited to see The Company Theatre.
A screeching music sets the tone and you see an imp-shaped figure scamper on stage; it is Puck; one of the characters in ‘Khwaab Sa’ an adaptation. The figure is laughing at the audience.The stage is lit up with white linoleum flooring and a heaven above in clothly-white.There is live and recorded music to support the scene; welcome to the world of William Shakespeare; a bardolatrous fantasy.
The stagecraft of Atul Kumar is something which will cast a spell on you; not that a Shakespearean script demands any less. His last production of Shakespeare “Piya Behrupia” was devoid of any full-ness of set. Here there are more.
Puck carves a choreographed tapestry of movements. Puck is laughing, howling; standing in hobbit (Lord of The Rings) like postures but slightly more skeleton like. The gestures are raw, pulsating life-like and rivets you to the stage. Puck is teasing the other cast, piercing; rolling and frolicking on the ground with Shakespearean madness. The depth, profoundness and clarity of a Shakespearean characters are revealed in play again and again. And certainly forms a wonderful study of human persona.
And, then Helena (Diya Naidu) comes , moving her hips to the beats of the music ; is churning movement out of the human body at the speed of Shakespearean-thought. I mean, her body is already in motion , in movement and then to the drums; she adds the swaying – slight tremors of movements; is multiple choreography on the human body at the same time. These guys are the best contemporary dancers in the country.
There is a sway of motion to the body of the dancers across the stage; also when they are making love. Demetrius is in motion and even the love making is a layer of choreography over another. What a ” theatre of audacity in musical experiments.” The works of the Company Theatre remind me of the words of Goethe: ” Whatever you can do, or dream you can. Begin it. Boldness has genius power and magic in it.”
You are in for a a treat with this production. Read the review of another production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream here at the Shakespeare’s Globe.The Indian version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream here will certainly charm the world. Let’s wait till it hits theatres worldwide.
In a book on Shakespeare performance studies it reads,” ” Pausing, fighting, wearing clothes, picking up, using and putting down props, making noise, addressing or ignoring the audience, producing visual patterns and effects:these are all things that actors must do, and in today’s theatrical culture, directors and ensembles will make decisions.”( Shakespeare and the making of theatre; edited by Stuart Hampton-Reeves and Bridget Escolme). And the Company Theatre has made good decisions in this production! Though the entry and exit of Titania and Oberon could be worked on.
Production: The Company Theatre
Cast: Diya Naidu,Sahiba Singh,Kumar Priyabrata Panigrahi ,Prashant More,Ronita Mookerji ,Saurabh Nayyar ,Abhay Mahajan, Ghanshyam Lalsa,Imran Rasheed, Vinayak Saxena,Anamika Tiwari,Gagandev Singh Riar
Director: Atul Kumar
Associate Director:Vinod Ravindran
Screenwriter: William Shakespeare
Adaptation: Rachel D’souza
Choreography: Diya Naidu
Producers: The Company Theatre/ Taichung Theatre
Director Of Photography: None
Costume Designer: Atul Kumar and Minty Jain
Light Designer: Pritham Kumar
Light Operator: Pritham Kumar, Gurleen Jidge, Yael Crishna
Set Design: Ameya Ramesh Bhalerao
Properties: Titas Dutta
Music: Anurag Shanker
“Khwaab Sa” is at Aravali Biodiversity Park, Gurgaon on 10th March.
Production Volunteers: Deepak Sinha, Sachin Das, Darshana Sakpal, Prashant Dixit, Aman Singh Rahi, Lakshya, Neha Misra, Prafull Devele, Pratiksha Kote, Satish, Surendra Tekale, Kshitij Jagirdar.