The Shakespeare Comedy Theatre Festival saw a grand opening in Pune yesterday. Held at the Nehru Memorial Hall, the festival saw huge crowds of literature and theatre lovers. Being a deep-dyed Shakespeare lover myself, there was no way I was going to miss out on this one.
Initially, I was a little skeptical how it would be to watch a Shakespearean tragedy as comedy, especially Hamlet, which is often considered Shakespeare’s most heart-wrenching tragedy. However, that is one thing that got me all the more excited. Having only seen the characters in my head so far, I couldn’t wait for them to come alive on stage; and for the depressed, revenge-driven Hamlet to make me laugh.
The play opened up with a group of clowns arguing over which play to enact. A few minutes of hilarious discussion later, they finally decide on Hamlet. The first scene of the play is the one where Hamlet is depressed after attending his father’s funeral and finding out about his mother’s remarriage to his uncle. Soon after, it moves on to the scene where the King’s ghost tells Hamlet how his death was a murder and who was responsible for it. The clowns then enact The Mousetrap, Ophelia’s drowning, the fencing match, the fall of the Queen, and we all know how Hamlet ends right?
Needless to say, all the actors in the play – Mr. Vinay Pathak, Rachel D’souza, Neil Bhoopalam, Namit Das, Sujay Saple, and Puja Sarup have delivered beautiful performances. I especially liked the way the actors interacted with the audience and made them feel a part of it, a power that theatre enjoys over cinema. Rajat Kapoor’s brilliant direction, along with the perfect balance of tragedy and comedy makes the play a must-watch. The play is so well constructed that even those who have not read Hamlet can enjoy it with a lot of ease.
So don’t hold yourself back depending on whether or not you are a Shakespeare lover. You can enjoy this adaptation more as an amateur I would say. Because the play can very well be someone’s gateway into the world of Shakespeare.
Thank you, dear clowns, for letting us enjoy the wonderful work of Shakespeare once again.
I am afraid there may be only a few tickets available for the Punekars now. However, enthusiasts from other cities may book their tickets here: https://in.bookmyshow.com/special/shakespeare-comedy-theatre-festival#