Stagecraft Theatre (www.stagecrafttheatre.in) was established in 2003, by the award winning actor-writer-director-producer Vikash Khurana, with a vision to create a platform for theatre and revive ‘theatre-going’ in the cultural ethos of Nagpur. And now, 13 years and 65 productions later, in the year of the great Bard William Shakespeare’s 400th death anniversary, Stagecraft Theatre celebrates 400 years of this beloved playwright through a modern day adaptation of his highly acclaimed romantic comedy, 'Much Ado About Nothing'. This adaptation is called CHEHAL PEHAL!
Set in the vibrant and colourful 70s in Delhi, India, and seen in the context of a time not so distant and yet very definitely past, the play explores Shakespeare's plot and characters in a time of resurgent national pride post emergency; think Kapil Dev, Amitabh Bachchan, Zeenat Aman, Gol Maal, Ambassador cars, Saturday Night Fever, Bee Gees, Bell-bottoms, Campa Cola, Chitrahaar... The plot centres around two couples: Kamal falls in love with Harini and their marriage is agreed upon. Bulbul and Bansi despise love and engage in comic banter, while their friends and family conspire to make them fall in love with each other. Meanwhile Jagdish, a cousin, contrives a more malicious plot to keep them apart. Placing the story in a different time and place, the play, attempts a refreshing and equally entertaining portrayal, uncovering a new landscape from which to regard the fleeting and the eternal nature of love and life.
The play is being directed by Vikash Khurana and Reacho recently caught up with the man himself! In an exclusive conversation, he talks about the influence of Shakespeare on his plays and why he chose to stage Chehal Pehal. Excerpts from the interview:
Reacho: Since when have you been enacting and coordinating plays?
Vikash Khurana: Stagecraft Theatre is now in its 13th year. 'Chehal Pehal' is our 66th production.
R: Why did you specifically choose this Shakespeare's play and not the other ones for a tribute to his 400th anniversary?
VK: 'Chehal Pehal' is the Indian adaptation of Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing is a witty, fun play reminiscent of the old days when romance was simple and lovers starry eyed. We have already staged 6 other Shakespearean plays in the past 13 years, among them, Macbeth, Hamlet, A Merchant of Venice, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Romeo & Juliet and Twelfth Night.
We just finished staging an adaptation of Tennessee Williams' A Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. As a team, we were looking for a change of pace, a change of genre. We wanted to do something more light-hearted for the holiday season.
R: How does Shakespeare influence you all as actors on stage?
VK: Shakespeare has such range of emotions, backgrounds, conflicts and relationships for actors and audiences alike. Shakespeare has captured the quintessence of what it is to be human - our joys, sorrows, our dilemmas and our fortitude along with our frailties. He has done so in grand proportions and striking contrasts even as he unveils subtle nuances and profound truths that make each one feel like he writes specifically for him/her.
An overarching characteristic of his body of work is that it is written in the spirit of enquiry and entertainment without judgment or sermon. Doesn't this resonate perfectly with the spirit of of the 21st century?
R: How do you think such stage plays can have an impact on the audience compared to books and movies?
VK: We consume so much entertainment and information digitally today. By contrast, theatre presents a very different medium of engagement. It is visceral and intimate. It is of all the senses. If you've been moved by one scene or one actor or one inflection of dialogue in a theatre performance, you will know that the experience of theatre is unique and therefore valuable. If you haven't, I invite you to come watch your first play with 'Chehal Pehal'.
R: What do you want to convey to people through this adaptation of the play?
VK: 'Chehal Pehal' promises to be a refreshing and entertaining portrayal that uncovers new landscape from which to regard the fleeting and the eternal nature of love and life. The process of rehearsal has had the nature of quaint rapture that can only be likened to running into old friends and recounting shared histories. Or rummaging through old photographs to stumble upon the handwriting of your youth. It is this experience that we want to share with each one in our audience.
Here's a sneak peak of the play ‘Chehal Pehal’
Date: Saturday 12 & Sunday 13 November 2016
Venue: Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Intellectual Property Management (RGIIPM) Auditorium, Opp. Board office, Hislop college road, Civil Lines, Nagpur.
You can also get the Google maps directions here.
Time: 3:00 & 7:00 pm sharp (Daily 2 shows)
Bookings for the tickets: 9823202900, 7507494149, 9168011898
Tickets are also available at all Tauby’s outlets (Sadar, Ramdaspeth, Eternity Mall, Law College square, Hingna T-point, Manish Nagar, Dev Nagar, Pratap Nagar) and also available online at PayTM and at the venue on show dates