A Midsummer Night’s Dream – the first Shakespearean play we studied in school – has just been so enthusiastically described by the BBC as crossing cultural boundaries that it makes one wish to see it played so. Here’s what they say about the latest version of the play which is being played by a multilingual Indian cast in a veritable mish mash of English and a number of Indian languages. Truth be told that’s the current language of any diverse urban center in India today.
"The complete madness that we all carry within ourselves
– the vibrancy of Indian culture – the richness, the earthiness, the
spirit… it’s all there in the play. It’s like the chaotic lives we
Only about half the dialogue is in English – the rest is
in a mixture of Hindi, Bengali, Tamil, Sinhalese, Malayalam, Marathi
Indian designer Sumant Jayakrishnan and lighting
designer Zuleikha Chaudhari have conjured up the essence of South Asia
on stage: this Dream’s a bright and colourful treat for the eyes.
Tim Supple says the core of the play is highly relevant to Indians.
"At least a third of this company will have had severe family ruptures over marriage or career choice.
"So the dilemma of the play – the insistence by Egeus
that his daughter Hermia marry the man he chose for her – is much
closer to many of this company than it would be in Britain.
"Also many of them will live where belief in the spirit-world is much stronger than in the UK.
"And extreme differences between rich and poor, which
underlie so much of the play, are much more alive in India than in the