Writer/Director: Rajat Kapoor
Cast: Vinay Pathak, Cyrus Sahukar, Joy Fernandez, Faeza Jalali, Aadar Malik, Shruti Vyas, Rytasha Rathore
“All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players”
From vibrant circuses to darkened theatres, clowns have carved their way in a unique manner to depict this modern day recreation of Shakespeare’s ‘As You Like It’. Staged in the capital, the show ‘I Don’t Like It.. As You Like It’ that made the house full (literally) for three consecutive days closed with unlimited cheers and applauds on Sunday night in the capital.
Just like he treated ‘Hamlet - the Crown Prince’, ‘What is done is done’ and ‘Nothing like Lear’, director-writer Rajat Kapoor made the audience burst into laughter this time too with his impeccable direction and stage set up. While the drama does confuse the uninitiated ones, it also makes one chuckle at various points; be it its randomness or just a subtle chuckle in agreement to what is being said on stage.
The play begins with the iconic statement, ‘All the world’s a stage..’ and transports you to the world of these clowns where their stories unfold; from their love-hate equations to their inner demons, everything takes over the stage. While Mimi and Coco are the ones bit by ‘love at the first sight’ bug, Fifi and Fido are the ones tackling with one-sided feelings. Soso is another character who shares an inevitable bond with his hand puppet and joining this animated bunch of clowns is Gigi, a clown from France. Trying to put up a perfect troupe, the director Popo struggles to get the already-occupied clowns enact William Shakespeare’s famous play and to complicate it further, he decides that women will play men and the men, women.
It does take a little while to slip into the set pace of the act but once you do, Oh boy do you get the hang of it! Of the many factors that make this play tug at the deepest corners of your heart, the main ones include the impeccable star cast that never fails to deliver. Limelight may be on two but none fail to impress. There’s not even a single dull moment on the stage and you constantly find yourself smiling at the little acts being pulled off on different corners of the stage.
While explaining why he chose to go the clown way, Rajat Kapoor says, “I knew that the conventional Shakespearean production did not excite me, would put me to sleep most likely. We had to make texts our own, had to infuse them with our lives, our experiences, our world and find the greater resonance of those texts, contextual to our times.”
From nuanced acting with the clown faces to modern day interpretations to unspoken life lessons, everything renders an indelible impact on you.
Special word for the actors: Even if you aren’t a theatre lover, you’ll still want to watch more of them perform after the hilarious ride they offer you in this never-seen-before rendition of Shakespeare’s world!