Act I opens at the National University of Sciences in Kolkata, where 26-year-old lawyer and theatre enthusiast Danish Sheikh is co-teaching a course on Shakespeare and Justice. Wondering if in fact, a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, he decides to take Shakespeare out of the classroom and into a park. Cubbon Park in Bangalore, to be precise.
In act II, Danish returns home to Bangalore in January 2015 and puts together a rag-tag troupe called Bardolators of Bangalore, made up of four lawyers, a law student, a graphic designer, a book publicist, an engineer and an adman, all Shakespeare geeks. After a heated debate on what play to begin with and three months of rehearsals, they settle on performing Much Ado About Nothing at Cubbon Park on the Ides of March.
We went to Much Ado, and if you missed it, we recommend you catch their second outing this weekend where Danish and troupe mix things up a little. Instead of presenting a single play, they will perform excerpts from their favourites - A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Macbeth, Measure for Measure, The Merchant of Venice, Romeo and Juliet and As You Like It. The actors perform different bits of the play in different parts of the park, playing their Shakespearean characters but also acting as garden guides, whispering sweet nothings about the park’s history and best nooks as they walk along with the audience. “The bamboo grove is where you should go for privacy,” they say.
“This time, we’ve even played around with the characters and made them Shakes-queeran,” grins Danish, informing us of the same sex couples in their rendition of Romeo and Juliet & As You Like It. We doff our cap(ulet) to the troupe.
All The World Is Your Stage
While the Bardolators of Bangalore typically like performing in the wide, open expanses of Bangalore’s parks, they’re quite willing to act “anywhere”.
“We conduct our rehearsals in public spaces like the steps of Blossom Book House or outside the Egg Factory, which always guarantees us an audience, and we enjoy that,” Danish smiles. So if you’ve got a patch of garden, an open terrace or a big enough living room, the Bardolators of Bangalore are more than happy to troop in and stage A Midsummer Night’s Dream (or any other play depending on the availability of actors) for your supper guests. Here’s the nice part: the actors perform for free – they all have day jobs – so we suggest you reward them with a big bunch of freshly plucked petunias from your garden.
My kingdom for a hose!
Getting there Shakespeare in Cubbon Park takes place on Nov 28 & 29 at Cubbon Park, details here. To book the Bardolators of Bangalore for a private performance, get in touch with Danish Sheikh on firstname.lastname@example.org or 8197979171.
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