Classic plays from across the world transport you to other worlds while you are under lockdown:
The Phantom of the Opera: In the darkly glittering world of a 19th century Paris opera house, a mysterious masked man lurks in the catacombs and obsesses over a beautiful young soprano who has caught his eye. Andrew Lloyd Webber’s haunting musical. The Phantom of The Opera, resounds with heart-stopping emotions and rippling songs. The Phantom of The Opera will be available on the YouTube channel, The Shows Must Go On, for 48 hours after being streamed on April 17.
Treasure Island: On a dark and stormy night, Jim, the inn-keeper’s granddaughter, finds a strange man at the door. She realises that he is an old sailor whose luggage, an old sea chest, is packed with dangerous secrets. Cue Jim’s voyage into the unknown where exciting things happen. National Theatre’s production upends gender — in RL Stevenson’s original story, Jim is a boy — and is all the richer for it. Watch it on YouTube till April 23.
Big B: Two English-educated, Hindi-and-Urdu-speaking brothers, Kamta Prasad and Samta Prasad, bring the house down as they battle for freedom from the Queen’s language in the play, Big B. The play used to keep a houseful crowd cracking up for one-and-a-half hours but, during the lockdown, the punchlines have turned silent. Instead, Delhi-based Pierrot’s Troupe is pushing the envelop with a project called “Read if You Can’t Watch”, for which it has opened its collection of scripts to the public. The first script you can download and read is Big B, which is an adaptation of Munshi Premchand’s short story Bade Bhai Saheb by M Sayeed Alam and Niti Phol, for Rs 200. An e-copy of the script is available at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Drawing the Line: In 2013, Hampstead Theatre of the UK performed and live-streamed the story of the Partition of India on the website of The Guardian newspaper. The powerful production, with a stellar ensemble, has returned during the lockdown, reminding audiences that one of the greatest political tragedies of the 20th century was marked not only by chaos but also the strength of humanity. The play is being streamed on the theguardian.com and hampsteadtheatre.com till April 19.
Quarantine Theatre Festival: Asmita, one of India’s youth-centric theatre groups, has been streaming some of its biggest hits throughout the lockdown. The recordings are from the archives and smartly edited. A new play opens at 7 pm every day but you can view anytime and anywhere. An update will be posted on the Facebook page of the theatre group.
Spartacus: The great military juggernaut of imperial Rome rolls through the stage in the opening act of Spartacus of the Bolshoi Theatre. Spartacus, born a free man is taken as a captive in chains. The ballet follows the legendary gladiator from the slave market to the decadent palace to the battlefield as he fights on for freedom, dignity and love. Spartacus will be live streamed on April 18 on YouTube.
An Enemy of the People: Who dares speak the truth to power? A protagonist does in Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen’s play An Enemy of the People, and suffers for it. One of Berlin’s most prominent theatres Schaubuhne, will bring the show online — with English subtitles — on April 18. Directed by Thomas Ostermeier, the play had filled Abhimanch, the largest hall of the National School of Drama in Delhi 2015, and encouraged audiences to question the characters on stage. It’s your turn now.
Head Space: Using features of therapeutic drama, Anshuma Kshetrapal take audiences on a journey through their own stories. The drama of wellness, presented by Delhi-based Kaivalya Plays, uses the imagination and creates a community experience of travel at the time of lockdown to “visit spaces of nostalgia and memory while also acknowledging the treasures we have right now”. The event will be conducted via Zoom App, for ages 16+, on April 19, 6 PM. Passes: Rs 300 is available at http://www.oddbird.org.
Lines for the Lockdown: Theatre actor, playwright and director Sudhanva Deshpande brings his performance to poetry, which he reads and posts everyday for enthusiasts. The poems are in Hindi and English, and began with So, That’s Who I Remind Me Of by Ogden Nash and Yeh Kadamb ka Pedh by Subhadrakumari Chauhan. To receive a poem every morning, send a message to sudu26 on Instagram or Sudhanva Deshpande on Facebook.
Drama Jam: A new world order, dictated by a virus for which there is no vaccine, has changed the way artists are creating or thinking. Participants can glimpse art’s novel challenges and ways to negotiate it at Drama Jam #4 – Part II, a discussion n sustaining performance arts organisations and performance arts culture. On April 19, 11.30 am-1.30 pm, the discussion will feature Jana Natya Manch, Kathkatha Puppet Arts Trust and Third Space Collective. For participating in the Zoom webinar, contact https://www.facebook.com/events/222403232345446/.
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