Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Global magic

On it's journey around the globe, covering two hundred countries, Shakespeare's globe theatre stopped at Bangalore's Ranga Shankara for two and a half hours to present their version of Hamlet, under the direction of Dominic Dromgoole.
The production, the script, costumes, props and the acting were inspired and successful in giving the feel of Hamlet, the tragedy.
The theatre filled up quickly, and we had travelled two hours to reach there just on time, and I was worried if my seat was among the worst. Not so. We sat to the left and in the sixth or seventh row, but could see the actor's faces and hear most of the dialogues clearly.
The play's highlight was the emotive facial expression of Hamlet in the throes of a debilitating depression, Queen Gertrude's excellent enunciation, the lively energy of Laertes, the dual roles played by the actor as the murdered king, and his sinning brother, the vulnerability of Ophelia, the garrulousness of her father, and the bits of music woven into the story.
The actor playing Horatio was a woman. She probably was filling in for someone who could not play that role. She did a pretty good job, except that she smiled a lot, significantly more than a man would, especially given the gloomy circumstances.
The second half was climactic and the scenes that show the escalation of pathos were effective. When the play ended I could not get over the deep sadness that descended on me.
The props included a few old style trunks, that the actors carried around and placed strategically to indicate that they were in a boat, that they were on the shore, that someone was digging a grave, etc. Needless to say, the audience understood what the trunks stood for, through the skillful direction and acting. For instance, one actor pretended to be thrown off by the waves from her seat on a ship. Another  was pulled out from behind the trunks, as if he was in a deep pit that he had just dug.
There were of course, places where we could not get the dialogues, probably because of the oldness of the language, or because the actors were speaking fast. But in all the important scenes, the dialogues played a very small role.
A very professional and heart warming production.