A lot to measure up to

Will the `fewer gadgets’ version of Complicite’s Measure for Measure work at Prithvi ?

RISHI MAJUMDER

Scenes from Measure for Measure

After their first series of performances at the Jamshed Bhabha Theatre, NCPA, Complicite is doing it’s ‘technically
stripped’ version of Measure For Measure at Prithvi Theatre on November 9, 10 and 11. The play directed by Simon Mc Burney was intended for a high tech production with a lot of technology bringing forth Shakespearean verse amid powerful lights and projected images. Prithvi being an intimate theatre for those who love experimental work can hold such experiment only to an extent. Hence the phrase ‘technically stripped’.
Sanjana Kapoor, who invited the group from England to highlight the Shakespearean tinge to this year’s festival, says she can’t compare the experience of watching the group perform at each venue. “It’s a show which was made for an auditorium of 1,600 capacity. Then it metamorphosed itself to
suit the venue at Bhabha, and finally to fit Prithvi.,” sighs. Kapoor. She emphasises that what is seen at Prithvi Theatre is not a “cut and paste job” but a “transformation with superb changes”. She found the experience “truly unique”.
Lights designer and technical assistant to Complicite from Prithvi Theatre Inaayat Ali Sami doesn’t see much being lost in this stripping. “Basically they’re cutting the excess fat… some elements which aren’t suited to a performance at Prithvi,” mentions Sami, “In fact, performances at Prithvi are far more enjoyable now after they’ve started concentrating on the actors and the spoken word,” he adds. True maybe, but Simon Mc Burney must have thought of all those technological enhancements for a reason. Won’t a performance stripped off these embellishments lose the director’s vision? “Simon has reworked the blocking to suit Prithvi,” Sami replies. Well, if Simon says, it must be so.

This article first appeared in Mumbai Mirror, Times Of India: http://alturl.com/ucic

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