Much Ado: From Clapham to Delhi
March 22, 2012
As the room of seven actors began the week, prepared to interrogate parts of their cultural and ethnic make up, their skills as performers were also mined through the intrinsic work of Struan and Lyn, filling the space with more of themselves as the week progressed.
We had conversations with the actors about their personal experiences of India and made connections between this and the play: Classes living on top of each other, everything being very public and the importance of rituals. Observations like, 'Where would they put their shoes as they go inside?' excited Tom (designer) and Iqbal, as they search for ways to make this production more specifically environmental.
We had a great session with Greg Doran on tackling Shakespeare's language. Iqbal then explored specific scenes, encouraging the cast to let the technicalities we'd learnt be there and then submit to the reality of the scenes, as we tried out different versions in smaller groups. There was a real moment of excitement and relief as it became very clear that this works! The context didn't feel forced in any way. From that point onwards, the revelations came thick and fast…
The peace-keeping aspect of the military in the play and in India's history, cross dressing at the masked ball and having Balthazar as a Hijra, Margaret as a contemporary aspiring wannabe of the higher class. Every character became three-dimensional. Nobody felt expositional. Scenes that might usually be considered extraneous became integral to the story.
Perhaps the biggest revelation of our workshop week was just how many doors have been opened and choices exposed as a result of exploring the placing of the play in contemporary Delhi.
by Kimberley Sykes
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