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Shakespeare in Indian Languages


February 14, 15, 16, 7 pm

Hamara Shakespeare Festival
Venue: Museum Theatre, Egmore

14th February 2008
Best of Kolkata Campus presents
"Hamletmachine-images of Shakespeare-in-us"
a play inspired from the Bard.. in Bengali
principal text: heiner muller
additional text: shamshur rehman and joy goswami
direction and design: Parnab Mukherjee
puppet: Partho Majumdar
bangla adaptation: Janardan Ghosh

Hamletmachine-images of Shakespeare-in-us

A play inspired from the Bard..

Principal text: heiner muller

Additional text: shamshur rehman and joy goswami

Direction and design: Parnab Mukherjee

Puppet: Partho Majumdar

Bangla adaptation: Janardan Ghosh


Boundary: In political geography, an imaginary line between two nations, seperating the imaginary rights of one from the imaginary rights of the other -Ambrose Bierce

In a fragmented landscape Hamlet searches.....post-cold war Hamlet, post-Nandigram Hamlet, post-Gundewar commission Hamlet...post-Naroda Patiya Hamlet

In a celebrated production of Best of Kolkata Campus-Heiner Muller's slim text undegoes a geographical shift and vacillates between

movements, activist aspiration and dangerous dreams....

A series of photographs. With hands' and legs' as a metaphor. Let's cut to the starting point.

The start of this project was that brilliant line of Muller

I am not Hamlet. This is not my play anymore....

As I started directing this performance..a series of black and white snapshots kept occuring to me...

A Iranian student in Pune. A Senegalese girl studying in Bangalore. A Burmese refugee in Delhi. A Mizo girl lost in the din of Mysore.....the lost Ophelia searching for a killed Polonius....

What images do they see in Hamlet.? What images haunt them? Are they comfortble being pigeonholed? Do they write about the cliches and sterotypes they are subjected to?

Images float...

Then there is the image of Bobby Sands. Bobby Sands was twenty-seven years old and sixty-six days on hunger strike when he died in the H-Blocks of Long Kesh, on 5th May 1981. The young IRA Volunteer, who had spent almost the last nine years of his short life in prison.Sands died on the 66th day of his hunger strike.

Image of Leonard Peltier. Wrongfully languishing in an American jail since 1975.

Images of the perils, pitfalls and achievements of Iranian resistance: Mansoor Hekmat, Maryam Namazie, brutal murder of 16-year old Atefeh Rajabi for "crimes against chastity," the death of Jehangir Eslah on June 20. 2007 and the complete apathy of the UNHCR, the shutting down of the Iran daily Sharh(East) for publishing an interview with expatriate Canadian poet and gay activist Saghi Ghahreman and the earlier ban of moderate daily called Ham Mihan.

On March 18, 2007, 32-year old Ronald D Silva, a kothi ( a term for effeminate male) and cross dresser was killed by an unknown assailanta the Kolkata maidan. Dressed as a woman, police found a profusely bleeding D'Silva with his abdomen slashed on a pavement at St George's Gate Road. Why is it difficult for us to accept "him" as "he" is?

Image of Win Maw Oo: On 19 September 2006, Burmese activists in Rangoon marked the 18th anniversary of the death of Win Maw Oo, a high-school student who was shot dead by Burmese soldiers during the 1988 student protests. Win Maw Oo was one of the hundreds of protestors killed in Rangoon after the military coup of 18 September 1988. "I got a phone call from the hospital. She was still conscious at the time," Win Maw Oo's father, Win Kyu, recounted about learning of his daughter's fate. "She gave them the names of her father, mother, home address, telephone number. At the hospital, after the operations, she was put in the intensive-care room. She was unconscious. I had to retrieve her body from a doctor. When I asked the cause of her death, the doctor told me it was due to shrapnel wounds. Only then was I able to retrieve her body. Then, I was told to bury her within 24 hours I also had to sign a pledge saying that she was not involved in [political] activities. Her younger sisters and brothers weren't able to see her when we buried her. At the funeral, there were only 25 people at most. We had to do it behind locked doors."

"I still miss my daughter every day," says Win Maw Oo's mother, Khin Htay Htay Win. "Today, I want to cry the way my daughter cried. They said that they opened fire in the sky. But they aimed at her straight. That's why she died straight away. In my heart, my daughter did it for her country; she gave up her life for the country."

Image of Sunil Kumar Verma. And the mental demons that he saw in Bhopal. Image of 9th October 2006 when Irom Sharmila refused all medical attention. Sitting in her hospital room in the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), she resolutely withdrew the force-feed tube from her nose against all medical advice.

Sharmila Irom has been on a fast-to-death for almost six years now. Six years without proper food, without a drop of water touching her lips. Six years without meeting her mother, and rarely being allowed access to her family. Six years of being held under arrest repeatedly on charges of "attempted suicide" by the government. Irom Sharmila's demand is simple repeal the Armed Forces Special Powers Act 1958. But this is a demand the Indian government is simply not prepared to listen to.

What images are we looking at? How are they celebrating diversity and their culturalness in these times?

The performance raises these questions.

Celebrates their narratives.

Celebrates them.

Hamlet looks at them and tries to understand the milieu around him..

he fails

in his failure he becomes a machine

"The violence of waking life disrupts the order of our death. Strange dreams occur, for dreams are licensed as they never were." - Louis Simpson


15th February 2008
Dr.V.Arumugham and group
School of Performing Arts, Pondicherry
"Shakespeare thanimiyal" in Tamil


16th February 2008
Playwright / Director: Ramu Ramanathan
Actors: Ahlam Khan. Medha. Pooja Asher
Music: Akshata Sawant
Producer: Kinnari Vohra
Stage Design & Production: Samir Lukka. Sudeep Naik
Photographs + Photoshop: Arko Provo Mukherjee. Biju Neyyan. Hashim K Basheer. Maitri Dore. Tapan Maharishi.
Lights: Kavi Bhansali.


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