Clowns transform four famous plays of William Shakespeare

Theatre buffs in the city, ahoy! Giving a comic twist to some of Shakespeare's famous plays this weekend, Rajat Kapoor, Kalki Koechlin, Vinay Pathak, Ranvir Shorey and many others are going to put up a four-play extravaganza, written and directed by Kapoor. The festival will also mark the end of their tour across 10 cities in the country.

Rajat Kapoor. Photo: Mail Today

Says Pathak, "The concept came to the fore years ago when Rajat and I, along with other people, did a clown-based play called C For Clown, which was an original. We did a three-month workshop and discovered the different types of clowns - naughty, big, women, desirable, dumb and old. We created a clown company in the story and the plot played out like a day in the life of clowns. Then, Rajat came up with the idea of what would happen if this clown company had to enact Shakespeare, how they would demolish Shakespeare and try to find the psyche of the play."

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Adds Kapoor, "C For Clown had five clowns, no fixed script and impromptu lines. The idea of mixing classical text with clowns, going from gibberish to Shakespearean text, excited me. So, we did a clown version of Hamlet, which worked really well. We had the clowns commenting on the characters and scenes. This was followed by King Lear a couple of years ago, while As You Like It and Macbeth materialised last year. We even thought of exploring the dark aspect of clowns in Macbeth, though I think that being scared of clowns is a myth."

'Macbeth - What is done is done' will be staged on April 15 at 5 pm. Photo: Mail Today

In Hamlet - The Clown Prince, we see how clowns relate to Hamlet's existential crises, while I Don't Like It (As You Like It) deals with gender. Says Pathak, "The leading lady is a man who pretends to be a woman, which is an interesting take anyway, and it only gets more chaotic. The director finally gets mad and says that all men will play female characters and vice-versa. Nothing Like Lear (King Lear) is the journey of an authoritative king and his three daughters. Macbeth - What Is Done Is Done has a political undercurrent as the play shows what ambition does to a human being, with two clowns coming in and commenting on the scenes."

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Talking about the audience reaction to the tour, Kapoor says, "We've done 30 shows of Hamlet in cities like Bengaluru and Mumbai, and we still get a packed house whenever we go.

Kalki Koechlin. Photo: Mail Today

Sirifort is packed for Macbeth, and Hamlet is also sold out."

Although this theatre tour is ending with the Delhi shows, Kapoor says that they will soon be heading to Surat, Singapore and Bengaluru (again) with more performances.

- Shakespeare Theatre Festival is being held at the Sirifort auditorium on April 15-16. For tickets go to bookmyshow.com