Shakespeare is one of those figures that will be inseparably connected to London and Britain forever. He wrote for royalty and the commoners alike, was self taught, progressive, writing about powerful women, different races and the odd ass or two as well.
Attending a play at the famous open air Globe Theatre was high on my list of London priorities and so now the weather had ameliorated, there seemed no better time to see a play under the stars than now.
For one week only, as part of the Globe To Globe theatre programme, me and some girls from work went to see the Arpum’s company’s, a theatre production company from India, Mumbai, production of All’s Well that End’s Well. Entirely in Gujrati.
Now, I don’t speak Gujarati though I picked up a bit of Hindi on my travels, but the play was surprisingly coherent! It was Shakespeare but bollywoodified.
Heli, or Helena, as she would’ve been know in the traditional version, was noteworthy and her voice, when she sang about her desire for the frankly odious Behetram, was breathtaking. It was funny, colourful and entirely Shakespearean despite the saris, chumkas and tablas. The play seemed to encapsulate everything about London’s character and personality at once. Though the English was minimal (one line for comedic effect critiquing western medicine) the language of drama, cosmopolitan, international trade and business and love travelled across the linguistic barriers to deliver a highly enjoyable and London-centric performance I think.
We bought standing tickets for £5, an absolute bargain! And it was something truly special to think we were there enjoying a play that 100 years ago, people may have stood in the exact same spot in London to watch Shakespeare’s latest plot unfold under the probably much clearer night’s sky hoping that all’s well that ends well.
For more information on plays at The Globe, click here