Julius Caesar wins hearts

William Shakespeare was a man of unique talent and incomparable dramatic sense. Despite numerous other playwrights that lead the literary world, Shakespeare’s works are enacted repeatedly and widely appreciated by literary theorists and playwrights, across the world.

Bringing life to his legacy and the historical excellence of his plays, the second year students of National School of Drama enacted Julius Caesar as a part of their
ongoing Nepal Sadbhavana Natya Aayojan.

Directed by Raj Bisaria, the man known to be the father of modern theatre in India, the play was enacted in Hindi and yet succeeded in winning the hearts of every single person present in the audience.

A dedicated Shakespeare reader couldn’t find it difficult to recall the original script and some of the greatest quotes from the play such as “Et tu Brute, then fall Caesar” and “Beware the Ides of March”, to name a few.

From the costumes and sets, to the powerful backgro­und music and lighting effects, the play came full circle in doing justice to the plot and the conspiracy that was a crucial part of Caesar’s tragic death. 

The play was nothing less than the perfect Hindi version of Julius Caesar. “Here we don’t have an audience for English plays. I did not want a ‘put on’ accent since English is spoken like Hindi in India. One cannot stage the very simple, yet complex iambic pentameter, and the rhythm-less script of Shakespeare. Ours is a symbolic and unstressed language and the emotions cannot be presented justifiably in English here,” Bisaria told Metrolife.

With western classical music and strong background accompanying the enactment, the director succeeded in depicting the historical situation in Rome that was prevalent during the assassination of Caesar. He also worked hard with the appearance of the students who were playing the vital characters of Caesar, Brutus and Cassius. From the generous nature of Caesar to the confused and exasperated condition of Brutus, from the jealousy in Cassius to the anxious Calpurnia, all the characters were brought as close to reality as possible by the students essaying the roles.

While the usual performance of a Shakespearean play takes nothing less than three hours, Bisaria managed to wind it up in an hour and forty minutes.

“I wanted to keep the theatrical aspect of the play intact. The soliloquies and the monologues have been given full time and it’s clearly evident that no scene is rushed throughout. Since there is no significant occurrence in Julius Caesar after Act III, Scene III, I focussed on the war and havoc that was caused after Caesar’s assassination, more than the other unimportant battle scenes, that are a part of the original play,” he told Metrolife.

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