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‘Shakespeare keeps evolving as an industry’
Arindam Gupta
 SILCHAR, April 12 - For the students, academicians and literature enthusiasts, William Shakespeare has manifold interesting resonances in terms of theatre. It is through Shakespeare, one gets hooked on to theatre and even after 400 years, the Bard keeps evolving as an industry, observed Asha Kuthari Chaudhuri, professor in the Department of English at Gauhati University.

Professor Chaudhuri, who was here to attend the 2nd five-day workshop on ‘Performing Shakespeare: Theory and Praxis’ organised by the Department of English, Assam University, Silchar, which began on Monday, said, “As an author, a playwright and an actor, Shakespeare has always been largely commercial. There is rich volume of output on Shakespeare critically, commercially and even theatrically and he wrote plays according to a specific formula.”

Later, she delivered an invited lecture on ‘Space, Shakespeare, Spectator’ where she referred to the ideas of stage space through the prism of heterotopias of Mitchell Foucault in context to Shakespearean drama.

Further, sharing her experiences of watching the Shakespearean plays performed by the Rabha artists in open spaces under sal trees at Budungduppa in Goalpara district, Professor Chaudhuri said, ‘Theatre is nothing but a mirror which keeps moving distinctly from various spaces in terms of referentiality, context and the stage itself and their integration with the spectators. She also delivered a lecture on ‘moving between texts: Charulata’.

Abanti Chakraborty, a celebrated thespian from West Bengal with ample exposure to the international theatre scene and hands-on experience of staging William Shakespeare’s plays for the Bengali stage, said that this workshop on Shakespeare is a special module for the students and upcoming actors to have a basic understanding about artistic process involved while creating a Shakespearean play on stage from the narrative text to the performance text.

Congratulating the department for organising the workshop, Professor Dilip Chandra Nath, vice-chancellor of the university, said that such workshops will help harness the creative acumen of the students and theatre enthusiasts. Prof Dipendu Das, chairperson of the organising committee for the workshop said that Shakespeare, as an institution in himself has inspired the creative and critical faculties of several subsequent generations.

Anindya Sen, coordinator of the workshop, said that it is not possible to learn about theatre in classroom lectures which is why the idea came up to organise such a workshop and the response has been inspiring so far.

He said that the workshop will delve on to the areas of Shakespearean theatre and the dynamics involved in staging the plays for a 21st century audience Sukannya Choudhury, a research scholar of the department compered the inaugural session of the workshop.

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