The Bard’s Hamlet must have been performed numerous times around the globe. There is no blinking to the fact that it is one of the most known tragedies written in the literary world, and certainly it has been a dream role for many actors for centuries. Now imagine the tragic character of Hamlet being performed by a clown! This is where the known film and theatre personality Rajat Kapoor brings a different interpretation- Hamlet, the Clown Prince.
|Atul Kumar as Hamlet|
Hamlet, the Clown Price has been performed by the Cinematograph, Rajat Kapoor’s theatre group, for numerous times in the past, and the group performed again at Delhi’s Kamani Auditorium between September 5 and September 7, 2013. The play, which is supposedly a comic interpretation of Shakespeare’s ‘The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark’ is difficult to imagine. How can you interpret Hamlet in a ‘funny’ manner, with an all clown show? Even if one does, can one really do justice to the tragic character of Hamlet? The answer is a big YES! Rajat Kapoor’s version of Hamlet is one of the finest examples of taking Indian theatre to the global standards. The best part of the play is the actors. Only an ensemble like this can put a show so brilliantly as this. The cast includes Atul Kumar, Kalki Koechlin, Sujay Saple, Neil Bhoopalam, Namit Das and Puja Sarup. The play is in Gibberish and occasional English. The highlight of the play is the interpretation of Hamlet by the clowns, monologues and the witty interactions with the audiences!
Only clowns can turn a four hour long tragic drama into a two hour beautiful comic piece. But the play still never loses its soul. Atul Kumar, who plays the character of Hamlet, manages to bring forth the emotions and turmoil through which Hamlet, the character, must have gone. The audience can feel the emotions, and just when you start empathising with Hamlet, the Clown in Atul breaks that emotion and gives a reason to laugh loud. As a matter of fact the other actors are also at par with Atul. Neil Bhoopalam is superb as Claudius and, of course, as the clown which he plays. At times you feel you are watching a Tom and Jerry show, and at times the actors take you to a different world where anything is possible on stage. And one needs to watch this beautiful piece of art to understand the magic it creates.
Hamlet, the Clown Prince is something which must not be missed by anybody. You do not need to read the original Hamlet by the Bard to understand this clown show. After all clowns are there to make you understand everything- everything which the logical human mind cannot understand.
Do not miss this play the next time it visits your city- doesn't matter if you have seen it earlier or not.
This review was first published in My Theatre Cafe on September 9, 2013