“Hell is empty and all the devils are here” – The Tempest
When I first got to know that Footsbarn Theatre would be performing ‘The Tempest’ in my city, I had it on my calendar. For those who are unaware, Footsbarn is a touring theatre group who are now based in France and has expertise in Shakespeare plays.
My run to the play was no less than a Shakespearean comic drama. I am not somebody who would mind going alone to experience Shakespeare but a company is welcoming. So, I asked a friend of mine and it was an interesting barter deal.
Friend: “Shakespeare really???”
Me: “Yeah..I’ll pay for your tickets (it costed peanuts)”
Friend: “Ok…” (without much excitement)
Me: “So…we are going right?”
Friend: “Yeah. Alright you can count me in”
After a pause of 10 minutes…
Friend: “Are you buying the dinner also??”
And that cracked me to laughter.
Me: “Ok fine, I’ll pay for the snacks too.”
After a series of phone calls, we managed to get the tickets which were paid by my friend as the ticket counter was in proximity to his home and the tickets were selling like hot cakes. Never mind.
The play was to start at 7 pm. Keeping the distance and traffic in mind, I left at 5 pm and was sure to reach by 6 pm but to my surprise, I was gridlocked. The continuous honking and repeat calls of my friend made me a Ninja and I managed to reach by 6.45 pm. Caught my breath and bag, I rushed to the theatre. Tearing the ticketless crowd at the gate, I found my friend with my ticket. I can’t tell how superior I felt with those tickets in my hand. As we were approaching the auditorium, again a security check (thanks to all psycho criminals). I was waiting for the security person to finish with his sneak peeking into my bag, he said “Madam, you are in wrong theatre, you should go the one just next to it.” Damn. Again ripping the crowd, we both rushed to the adjacent theatre.
So, we reached just 5 minutes prior to the play. We grabbed the seats. In no time, the whole theatre was packed with the artists, art literates and budding art students.
Pardon me for being judgmental but those who haven’t watched Shakespeare or read him; are missing true joy in life. It is not only entertaining but also rich in art. Sparing the detailing of the play, I want to highlight the brilliant light effects and the traditional Indian-European live music. Footsbarn is known to do exclusive things, one of which in this performance was that it was acted in four languages at the same time. Prospero (the protagonist was speaking in Malayalam and Sanskrit); Ferdinand and his father in French and others in English. The comic timings of Ariel had audience crack-up. All the other important characters-Antonio, Alonso, Caliban, Miranda etc. were played with the expected finesse. The epilogue was welcomed with the encore of applauses.
“We are such stuff as dreams are made on, rounded with a little sleep”
I was unsure of my friend’s perception of the play (as I saw him yawning twice in the play). Anyway, the night ended, we went to our homes without much discussion about it. I slept with all the praises about the play in my head.
First thing in the morning, I read on my phone “Thanks for taking me to the play. It was nice.” There, I smiled and thought it’s not me but Shakespeare who would work on anybody.
“Now I want
Spirits to enforce, art to enchant,
And my ending is despair,
Unless I be relieved by prayer
Which pierces so that it assaults
Mercy itself and frees all faults.
As you from crimes would pardon’d be,
Let your indulgence set me free.”