Shakespeare Festival starts in Kolkata

Kolkata, May : Ms Universe India 2010 Ushoshi Sengupta on Friday attended the inauguration of ‘The Inter School Shakespeare Festival’ in Kolkata and said iconic English poet and playwright William Shakespeare is someone with whom people have grown up.

“I think Shakespeare is someone with whom we have always grown up,” said Sengupta.

Starmark, in association with Enigma, Ahava Communications and John Bagul, Principal, South City International School hosted the inauguration of ‘The Inter School Shakespeare Festival’ at South City Mall outlet of the popular lifestyle store in Kolkata on Friday.

Following the inauguration of the festival, Professor of English, Jadavpur University, and theatre critic Ananda Lal, actor and author Barun Chanda, theatre personality and former journalist Nivedita Bhattacharjee, actor and Artistic Director at Creative Arts Ramanjit Kaur and Artistic Director at Ranan Vikram Lyengar participated in a panel discussion titled ‘Is Shakespeare Contemporary?’.

The panel discussion wass moderated by Anjum Katyal, author, editor and Co-Director of Apeejay Kolkata Literary Festival.

Talking in the context of Shakespeare being contemporary, Ananda Lal said:”There have been great dramatists over the ages. But the interesting fact that has been researched, is that, tragedians never wrote comedies and comedians never wrote tragedies. Such an exceptional case is only being glanced at Shakespeare who has been a master in writing both the forms successfully- tragedies and comedies.”

Barun Chanda, revealed to the audience, one of his acting experience, being Hamlet, in his college days at Jadavpur University.

According to him, putting on the character of Hamlet was quite difficult for him initially.

“To be or not to be, that is the question, but at the end of the play, he was so intensely involved to it that he felt a crisis of existence. He was not quite sure who he was and that’s what he called Shakespeare’s specialty,” he said.

On being asked about how we find Shakespeare in our everyday life, Nivedita Bhattacharjee said:“Once in The Brook Gallery, London there was one play presented on blind sculpting of gender, bringing the characters from Shakespeare’s texts, where women played the roles of men and men played the roles of women. As a theatre personality, I would love to be Macbeth and want some man to present himself as Lady Macbeth where we would not put any caricatures to identify ourselves.”

She said: “Shakespeare himself put Portia in the character of man where she has been portrayed as an assertive and authoritative character.”

The three-day festival at South City International School auditorium is being held from May 9 to May 11 between 10 am and 4 pm.

Ten other schools of the city will be participating in the programme.The festival will include a drama competition, a quiz competition, debate on ‘Did Shakespeare really write his plays?’ and also an art competition. Accordingly a prize distribution will be held on May 11 at 4 pm.