Three regional shades of Shakespeare

IANS| Updated: Nov 08, 2013, 10:28 AM IST

Chennai: Hindi and Kashmiri translations of three popular plays of master playwright William Shakespeare will be staged here during a three-day `Hamara Shakespeare` theatre festival that began Thursday.

The sixth edition of the festival aims to showcase Shakespeare`s work with an Indian twist. It is the brainchild of Ranvir Shah of Prakriti Foundation.

Playwright Atul Kumar will present `Piya Behrupiya`, a Hindi play based on `Twelfth Night`; veteran theatre director M.K.Raina`s presentation `Badshah Pather` in Kashmiri is a translation of `King Lear`; and Neel Chaudhuri and Anirudh Nair`s Hindi-English play is based on `A Winter`s Tale`.

According to Kumar, his play `Piya Behrupiya` has a "strong Indian folk leaning" even though it is a translation and not an adaptation.

"I believe in translations more than adaptations because it keeps the basic flavour of the play alive without corrupting it," he said in a statement Thursday.

`Badshah Pather` is a result of a series of theatre workshops that began in Jammu and Kashmir in 2001 as part of the National School of Drama`s extension programme under Raina.

The aim of these workshops was to bring together youngsters and theatre veterans to revive vibrant Kashmiri folk theatre form that has suffered in the decades of unrest in the state.

Over the last five workshops, 14 productions have been created.

"The translation of the text has been done keeping in mind the informality and ease that the style of `Badshah Pather` demands," points out Raina.

Badshah Pather, a form of farcical theatre is said to have entered Kashmir from Persia through the Muslim courts in the 14th century and then spread through the rest of north India.

"Usually it is performed in open air theatre and lot of sufi elements like sufi music. Performers sometime wear masks and dance with lots of satire and humour. My challenge was to attempt Shakespeare`s tragedy using this form," he added.

The plays are being staged at Kalakshetra Foundation, Thiruvanmiyur and entry is free for everyone.