Indian Tempest at Shakespeare’s Globe
Shakespeare’s Globe is set against a fittingly gloomy backdrop as a looming thunderstorm threatens to wash away Monday night’s performance by means of its very namesake. Renowned theatre troupe Footsbarn present their own utterly unique, ethereal and magical adaptation of a Shakespeare classic in the culture-infused, quadrilingual Indian Tempest. Spatters of rain hardly bother the exposed standing audience, as they appear happily poncho-clad below those sitting smugly undercover. It’s clear from the beginning that the rain can only add to Footsbarn’s distinctive performance, as the audience is hushed by the beguiling arrangement of the violin, drums and sitar from the accompanying musicians.
A white-haired Prospero, played by Reghoothaman Domodaran Pillai, enchants an intrigued, albeit slightly confused audience as he sings in a mixture of English, Malayalam and Sanskrit. The opening scene is a whirlwind of sheets, rain and musical narration aptly pertaining to the tempest Shakespeare first described, only with an earthy, organic, Indian twist. The introduction of the fair Miranda, played by Rosanna Goodall, through her exchange with her father helps to remind a fixated audience that it is in fact the Shakespearean classic they know and love. The scene is further brought to life by the appearance of Prospero’s younger self in the audience as he narrates the story of his fateful shipwreck to his daughter.
Ariel, played by the delightfully eccentric Gopalakrishnan Kundamkumarath, undoubtedly and deservedly steals the show. His almost camp cheekiness and bewitching use of mime and interpretive movement proves not only hilarious, but integral to the story. Speaking almost exclusively in French is Ferdinand, played by Haris “Haka”Resic, whose silky baritone, as he sings of his love for a smitten Miranda, allows the many non-French-speaking audience members to completely forget any lack of understanding.
Footsbarn is well known for its fusion of a number of languages and performance styles, and Indian Tempest is certainly no exception to its acclaim. Shadow play, traditional costumes and a perfect arrangement of Indian instruments woven through Footsbarn’s unconventional yet joyous theatrics, pay a wonderful homage to Shakespeare’s last work.
Photo: Julian Behel
Indian Tempest is on at Shakespeare’s Globe until 3rd August, for further information or to book tickets visit here.
Watch the trailer for Footsbarn’s Indian Tempest here: