KOCHI: Into the palace where Duke Theseus of Athens and Hippolyta, the queen of Amazon dreams of their nuptial hour enters vexatious Egeus complaining of his disobedient daughter Hermia who falls in love with Lysander and refuses to marry Demetrius. The classical rom-com ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ by William Shakespeare, starts here, guiding us in an illusory drive into the whimsical world in the woods.
Rather than recreating the classic, the play presented by the MPhil students of the Department of Performing and Visual Arts, University of Kerala, focused on the nuances of performance. They brought out minimal props and other paraphernalia on stage. “We intentionally kept away from making a heavy constructive set for the play. We aimed at giving ample space for the characters to move and emote freely. So the audience would not be carried by the mere beauty of the props,” says Thulaseedhara Kurup, director of the play.
Attempts to mesmerise viewers with enchanting background music was also avoided.
In the woods, three interlocking plots gets unravelled. Hermia and her lover Lysnder plan to meet there. Hermia reveals the plan of elopement to her close friend Helena who informs Demetrius about it and he sets out to stop Hermia from the act. Meanwhile, a troupe of drama presenters, rehearsing the “ most lamentable comedy and most cruel death of Pyramus and Thisbe” to be presented before Theseus and Hippolyta also arrive in the forest. Oberon, the king of fairies and Titania too land there. ‘Puck’ a knavish elf who is a jester to Oberon acts as a link to the three plots and applies a love potion on the eyes of Lysander, Titania and Demetrius. A comic touch is imparted to the play with the four drama presenters, Quince, Snug, Bottom and Flute. The potion creates a whole lot of mess that throws up moments of cheer and confusion alike. Finally the confusion gives way to a happy reunion of lovers.
The play, an adaptation of Kavalam Narayana Panicker’s translation, had the presence of professional and amateur artists alike. “There was a three-week workshop where the entire team worked on the play. It did impart a lot of confidence to first timers,” says the director.
The cast comprised Jithin George Mathew (Theseus), Amitha Damodaran (Hippolitta), Indulekha L V (Hermia), Remya Raji R (Helena), Kannan Nayar (Oberon), Aswathy Vijayan (Titania), Sarath Kumar V (Puck), Santhosh G Nair (Bottom), Firoz (Egeus), Hazim M M (Lysander), Zulfiker Salim (Demetrius), Bhrugu Raman S J (Quins), Arun G (Flute) and Reju R Nair (Snug). Aromal T has done the choreography and Ashraf A E has done the light arrangement. The one-and-a-half-hour play was staged at the University Senate Hall in T’Puram.