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Shakespeare in Indian Languages


3rd February 2012 - 4 SEASONS OF SHAKESPEARE By Vayu Naidu:


What do a TV Wartime Correspondent, a Dentist, and a Performer have in common? If it was Shakespeare, he would have said: Being Human. However, they have stopped feeling human because of the excitement and pressure of 21st century lifestyles. Suddenly, they are blasted out of their routines, and as they never knew each other before – have a strange encounter in an enchanted jungle where they take refuge. Interestingly, this jungle is also a place where two lovers are sighted eloping, a child is being abandoned, and three actors are desperately trying to rehearse a play as the city has no spaces.

4 Seasons of Shakespeare is a new work by Vayu Naidu inspired by the themes of oppression, abandonment and insight from Mr. William Shakespeare’s A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM and THE WINTER’S TALE and inventively combines contemporary lives from London and Chennai. This play is about the significance of story and how art is a vital part of all our lives in understanding how to be human across time and civilisation.

This play is suitable for Secondary Schools and Colleges, new audiences, and for an audience who are familiar with Shakespeare. It is to celebrate and promote an understanding of Shakespeare’s work to global audiences in this special Anniversary year of 2012.

Vayu Naidu Storytelling Theatre is based in the UK and its Company includes:

Actors: Ruby Sahota, Alice Sillett, Paul Sheridan (UK) Shibani Naidu (India)

Music and Performance: Ansuman Biswas (UK), Aditya (India)

Lighting Design: Dee Ashworth (UK)

Writer & Director: Vayu Naidu


Vayu discovered Storytelling along the South Eastern Coast of India and in Chennai, her home city. She came to England in 1988 to study at the University of Leeds for her doctorate, which was on Indian Performance Oral traditions and their interpretations in contemporary western theatre. Her subsequent career has covered many fields including teaching, writing and performance. In 2001 she founded Vayu Naidu Company, to promote storytelling as theatre, with a signature style combining text, music and dance. Its inaugural production was South, which she wrote and performed together with musician Orphy Robinson and three dancers in a UK national tour directed by Chris Banfield (2003).

Other productions include Future Perfect, a storytelling performance collaboration with director/composer Judith Weir, which toured nationally (2000) as part of Contemporary Music Network, and did an All-India British Council tour with Birmingham Contemporary Music Group in 2002; and Nothing but the Salt (2005), written by Vayu and combining live ‘cello with storytelling and video. The company commissioned a new play Mistaken.. Annie Besant in India from Rukhsana Ahmad which was co-produced with Guildford’s Yvonne Arnaud Theatre and toured the UK in 2007. The production was then very warmly received in India, at the University of Allahabad, and theatre festivals in Delhi and Chennai in Dec 2007, with Vayu playing the role of the Storyteller.

Her playwriting work includes: There Comes a Karma, and When both directed by Vanessa Whitburn, BBC Radio 4 Drama; Playboy of the Asian World, (1999); Nine Nights, directed by Chris Banfield; and Guess Who’s Coming to Christmas? - BBC Radio 4 (2003). Vayu’s books for children are published by Wayland Publishers, Collins UK and Tulika Books in Chennai, India.


4th February 2012 - Alfonsina:


In Hamlet, arguably Shakespeare’s finest tragedy, by the end of the first act, the young hero has started to believe that he has been divinely ordained to kill the man married to his mother. Shakespeare makes it clear that Hamlet’s fury is driven not so much by the fact that his father is dead as by the jealousy aroused at his mother’s hasty marriage to his uncle. If Hamlet is indeed motivated by a filial duty to avenge his father, then why does he not like Laertes, swiftly seek out his father’s murderer? Does Hamlet wish to kill his uncle because he has murdered his father or does he wish to kill him for murdering his father and marrying his mother, in other words, for realizing Hamlet’s own Oedipus complex? And what of Oedipus himself? Destined to kill his father and marry his mother, he spends nearly all his life, fleeing his fate. Ironically, these very attempts to thwart his destiny end up causing him to fulfil it. This is not very unlike Hamlet who, disinclined to murder, relentlessly delays his revenge and in the process sets off a chain of events that ultimately cause him take his revenge in the aftermath of a bloodbath.

The play ‘Alfonsina’ asks the same questions but by placing an artist at the centre of the tragedy. Is an artist destined to kill as well? The work of forefathers, an inherent penchant for conformity and the ties that bind him to his family, must all these be destroyed if he is to fulfil his destiny?

And what of an artist who attempts to flee such a destiny?

Cast and Credits:

Director: Koumarane Valavane

Actors: S. Avinash, Cordis Paldano, Emelyne Leibhan, Senthil Kumar, Vasanth Selvam

Prop, Set & Costumes Designer: Marie de la Bellière

Technical Director: Senthil Kumar

Text written by: Koumarane Valavane

Translated by: Cordis Paldano

About The Group

Indianostrum Théâtre is a Pondicherry based professional theatre troupe that was founded in 2007 by Koumarane Valavane. They have produced seven full length plays in the last five years, all of which have received widespread critical acclaim, notably for the innovative mise en scène.

Apart from regularly publishing books and theatre literature through their publishing wing, they also conduct an annual three day theatre festival in Pondicherry that hosts around twenty performances at multiple venues in the city. This festival which brings in artists from all over India and France, has grown to become the most important event in the cultural calendar of Pondicherry.

Indianostrum Théâtre has so far received support from the Kalakshetra Foundation - Chennai, the Alliance Française of Madras, the Embassy of France in India, Prakriti Foundation – Chennai and the National School of Drama – Regional Resource Centre, Bangalore.


5th February 2012 - The Play:


Hamlet and Ophelia express the endless diversity of their passion in a work which takes the form of an epistolary play in verse. Steven Berkoff's startlingly original drama plans the lovers' legend underneath the plane of Shakespeare's play. With a brawniness of words tempered with softness, Berkoff's play is injected through with images of courtly love, sexual desire and warnings of future tragedy. The chill of the finale absolutely offsets the earlier violent heat in what is a unique piece of work.


Actors: V.Balakrishnan, Janani Narasimhan, Varun Aiyer, Anuradha Venkataraman, Sunandha Ragunathan

About the Playwright

Steven Berkoff was born in Stepney, London. After studying drama and mime in London and Paris, he entered a series of repertory companies and in 1968 formed the London Theatre Group. His plays and adaptations have been performed in many countries and in many languages. Among the many adaptations Berkoff has created for the stage, directed and toured, are Kafka's Metamorphosis and The Trial, Agamemnon after Aeschylus, and Poe's The Fall of the House of Usher. He has directed and toured productions of Shakespeare's Coriolanus also playing the title role, Richard II, Hamlet and Macbeth, as well as Oscar Wilde's Salome

The Director

V.Balakrishnan graduated from the Sri Ram Centre for Performing Arts and the National School of Drama (Acting Specialization). He was awarded the Charles Wallace scholarship to work as a Director in the Royal Court Theatre’s International Residency Programme in London.

The Group

Theatre Nisha formed in 2000 has more than 35 plays to its credit in the last ten years, apart from working with schools, colleges and other institutions. More than 1000 persons have worked and participated with Theatre Nisha in the same time. Its productions of last year were Rashmi Rathi, Asghar, The Woman King, and Notes to a young actor, Kadaigal, The Ramayana.


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