Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Didi Hopkins


i wanted to congratulate you all on your magnificent show and performance on saturday at the hackney empire
your piece was hugely enjoyable, highly sophisticated and simple at the same time,
the grommelot/gibberish so perfectly placed in european it sounded so much like something - yet we got it all
the weaving of the plot,  the characters and the staging were brilliant and I wish you could be here longer and do the show again

well done and come again

best wishes

didi hopkins

Saturday, March 19, 2011

An academic reviews the show at University of Warwick

The Bardathon is Pete Kirwan’s academic theatre review blog. This is an experiment in reviewing practice designed to combine the principles of academic reviewing with the immediate reactions of a journalistic format.

The Bardathon review

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Anmol Sagar

Hamlet: The clown prince

I recently went to see Rajat Kapoor’s ‘Hamlet: The clown prince’ at Prithvi. The play, (in gibberish and English as the advet said) was supposedly hilarious. I went in wondering how one could possibly make whiny and serious Hamlet funny….And I came out holding my sides, for they ached from all the laughing I did for 2 hours straight!!

The play has a company of clowns presenting their version of Hamlet along with multiple doses of digressions to share their own lives and personalities. Clowns being clowns, the play is not only funny, it’s filled with contemporary influences which manage to present the classical tragedy with a modern feel.

I was a little stunned when it started…. a clown opened it with something that sounded like a frantic mix of French, English, Chinese and some alien language all at the same time! That’s Gibberish for the untrained and it does take some getting used to. I wasn’t too sure whether the gibberish was really a needed ingredient (others with me felt it added a comical hue), but I thought the play would have been as funny even in just plain English.

 The play was uproariously funny to say the least… the multiple digressions by the clowns where they would totally forget that they are enacting Hamlet were entertaining and the involvement of the audience members into their dialogues was ingenious and extraordinary. The actors were really good… it would take a lot to deliver a flawless 2 hour play. A special mention for the lead actor who played the clowning and the serious parts with great aplomb (His heartfelt speech on the death of Ophelia had me almost in tears!) I personally really liked the clown who played Claudius… he was brilliant in his portrayal of the airheaded disconnected clown and a devious step father to Hamlet at the same time. His impromptu dancing and breaking into songs from Lion king really had me holding my sides. At one time, he also played Hamlet’s dead father’s ghost (who by the way is not allowed to talk… being a ghost and all) where he was trying to, through dumb sharads, explain to the clueless Hamlet what he wants him to do to avenge his death!!

It is a challenge for anyone to present Hamlet in it’s entirely in 2 hours and this play did cut around some of the interlacing stories, but that did not make the story less complete in any way. The play ignored the whole Prince Fortinbras angle as also the betrayal of Rosencratz and Guildenstern… but it added a lot more through the stories of the clowns and their relationships with each other. 

All in all, I was amazed at the creativity and the skill of the cast and the crew of the play and felt that the standing ovation they got at the end was really too little an appreciation!  Hats off to the team and to Rajat Kapoor (who by the way was there at the venue sporting an arty look with a long unruly beard) for a great show!

Anmol Sagar

Review in The Guardian

A strangely written review but I think he liked it. A pity he starts off by saying there's not a lot to like about Hamlet because he's talking about Shakespeare's 4-hour epic, not the '90 minutes of mayhem' that is the Clown's interpretation! The Guardian

Reviews from the performance in Newcastle

Some great reviews from the performance in Newcastle

What's on Stage

The Jouurnal

British Theatre Guide

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

A welcome cake at Northern Stage

Everything is ready and the staff at Northern Stage arrange a welcome party for rhe company. Now all we need is an audience!http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vnrH8k2qrBA

Monday, March 7, 2011

Welcome dinner in Newcastle

Everybody is here in body but not quite sure if they're here in mind yet. After a day's travelling, dinner in the Quayside area on Newcastle was a pretty subdued affair. Early to bed, ready for he get-in todayhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aiTr5Dp9xe8

In the UK at last!

After nearly 24 hours travelling the company has finally arrived in the UK, ready to start the tour at Northern Stage in Newcastle. Nelson Fernandez, Director of NFA International Arts & Culture, the UK tour producers, met the company at Heathrow as they emerged 'looking surprisingly fresh' from immigration. Then it was all on to a 'luxury' minibus for the long haul to Newcastle - from one end of England to the other.

Roger McCann, the other Director of NFA went on ahead to sort out the accommodation - and what fantastic accommodation it is. We're in three apartments on the banks of the River Tyne - two on the Newcastle side and one on the Gateshead side. The Gateshead apartment is right next to the Baltic, Newcastle's contemporary art gallery created out of a former flour mill, and alongside the amazing concert hall - Sage. Those on the Newcastle side are in Hanover Mill, another fantastic apartment overlooking the river in the historic heart of Newcastle - complete with cobbled streets.

Tonight we're going out for dinner before work starts in earnest tomorrow morning. Get in to the theatre at 9.00am.  

Sunday, March 6, 2011

From Girish Karnad

A superb piece of theatre. Inventive. Funny. Energetic. Don't miss it.
- Girish

Friday, February 25, 2011

Hamlet Pics

Rachel D'Souza as Fifi- OPHELIA

Atul Kumar as Soso- Hamlet

Rachel D'Souza & Atul Kumar

Atul Kumar & Namit Dass as Nemo- Polonius

Puja Sarup as Buzo- Gertrude & Namit Dass

Puja Sarup & Namit Dass

Puja Sarup, Namit Dass & Atul Kumar

Atul Kumar & Rachel D'Souza

Neil Bhoopalam as Fido- Claudius & Puja Sarup

Namit Das, Rachel D'Souza, Puja Sarup & Sujay Saple as Popo- Laeretes
Hamlet Pics

Saturday, February 19, 2011

This is how it began

With two fresnels and a black wall
They all smudged the frame
Flurrying bodies, thin and tall
Shot out of the wings
And from within them, rose he, his name -
Hamlet - The Clown Prince!

Place: The Company Theatre Office, Juhu
Time: Early September 2008

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Prithvi Fan

hi rajat,

this is to say i really laughed my head off and enjoyed the clown prince.

i think the queen fat lady busso, the uncle king, and   soso hamlet were  particularly strong performances.

the kings' death- throes- item number was hilarious'. i loved it.

hamlet was remarkable. (i was shy or i'd have kissed atul for it. ) in spite of the buffoonery he keeps a taut tension consistently . he glides so smoothly through just slightly different registers and then suddenly "whats your problem man" sort of merging with or into the 'real' so that the performance blurs into a psychological state that suddenly is so familiar and 'mine'. i don't know if i can say it so well in a quick mail.

and then in the clowning and bawdiness etc the little black pearl of a sort of sadness.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Fan Review


I just adored the play. Am at dinner with this crazy assortment of
friends - an Australian lady who runs a restaurant in Hong Kong, her
German (?) chef, a Sri Lankan publicist woman who lives in Shanghai
and an Australian dancer/ Performance Studies PhD guy who I met in
Tokyo and we are all just buzzing - so electrified and energized and

We have unanimously agreed that this is all of our favorite live
performance we've seen in recent memory and, from me personally, I was
so so thrilled to see it.

Your hamlet is a fucking genius, from his opening monologue I was
hooked; like buster keaton meets roberto begnini with the precision of
michael jackson. Unreal. That clown is a character I would watch again
and again - I want to see him in all sorts of environments - it's

Gertrude was spot on - a send up of a style that maintained its
earnestness - no laughing at her character... She felt both fresh and
truly honest -  she truly believed but like all great performers she
had a supreme sense of herself on the stage and tempered it so well.

Ophelia was a revelation - having seen her in films before I was just
blown away and her beautiful transformational moment of magic with the
flowers straight broke my heart.

Claudius absolutely rocked - he brought in a completely new and
different influence; a modern pop-culture aesthetic and as my friend
says he played his intelligence down which is the hardest thing for an
actor to do - and he succeeded.

Of course your wonderful MC, the fantastic Laertes, who held the piece
together so assuredly and who's personal investment in the 'other'
play - the life and health of his ragtag company grounded the play in
a place of heart and truth.

And last but certainly not least sweet loving polonius, the youngest
playig the oldest - the striving company member who's voice is shut
out but who's heart is so in the right place... He stayed my horatio
throughout: the one who learns.

And bossman - your work was beautiful. I'm so JEALOUS of your lucky
cast for having the gift of creating this show with you. Their
individual glows attest to the wonderful director that they had and,
whatever that poor jaipur woman thought (though that was a beautiful
moment - when she said she'd never before been to the theatre) "the
other side?" is so what its about. That is the question, man, and you
asked it. You rendered the text more than what is is - you took an
almost fossilized text and breathed life into it so that the words
became immaterial - until you'd choose to throw in a gem and man did
it shine.

Thank you thank you: delhi arts summit, nsd theatre fest, literary
festival can all go and suck it: this is the best art I've seen in a
long long time.

So much love and respect.
I can't wait to see you soon and talk more about this all and am so
excited to work together now and hopefully in the future.

Ps. Your son is a gem.

Your sometime grandson,

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Hmmm... :(

You know what?

My Uncle doesn't say it for nothing.

I really look ugly.