Classics... can we ever get enough of them?

Classics... can we ever get enough  of them?

As a play based on Henrik Ibsen's 1881 masterpiece Ghosts is staged this weekend, the age-old debate leaves a lot to think about



Rummage through your bookshelves and DVD boxes (if you still have some) and list out the names of the classics in the collection. I'm certain that you still have a copy of, say, a Jane Austen or a Charles Dickens title, right? Your movie list must boast a Satyajit Ray or an Audrey Hepburn. We love classics, even the remixed versions of a few classic numbers. After all, there's nothing like reliving the golden era or introducing the younger generations to the past.
But do classics necessarily fare well on the stage? The jury is out in the theatre fraternity in Dubai. Is our theatre-going audience a fan of thou, thee, thy, thyself and thine? Is it mature enough to give the classics a chance to lure them as a live form of performing arts? Does the audience have the patience to watch an old tale? Is Dubai willing to lighten its pocket for such a show? Or is it just that we can never get enough of the classics?
As local theatre company Tall Tales Production preps to bring Ghosts by Henrik Ibsen to the stage this weekend, I can't help but ask these questions, yet again. The play, originally written in Danish by Henrik Ibsen, was scripted in 1881 and staged for the first time in 1882. To bring to the stage a play scripted 138 years ago is not an easy task. This one deals with bold themes, such as intimacy, religion, infidelity, euthanasia and more.
Those who love classics can argue that, after all, we've (often) staged Romeo and Juliet (published in 1595) and The Great Gatsby (published in 1925) as well. Asad Raza Khan, the heart and mind, behind Tall Tales Production, has in the past presented classics like Sherlock, Shakespeare in the Sands, and more.
As a performer, there's nothing more exciting than slipping into the timeless characters, many will agree. The producers of such plays also suggest that relying on classics is a safe bet. Others call them risk-takers, but I disagree ­- we need to respond to the changing tastes of the audience. Perhaps, rewrite parts of the script or introduce newer elements. But then, would that not ruin the sanctity of the work itself? Something the art world struggles to agree to disagree upon.
How Ghosts, directed by Ramchandaran Shanker, fares this weekend shall tell. Its cast includes Humera Sultana, Ashleigh Adonis, Kailash Nair, Greg Lunn and Ziyad Bangara. I've seen Humera and Kailash light up the stage on many occasions, so I'm looking forward to watching them yet again. The cast is stellar and the tickets are up for sale. Nevertheless, the tragedy, known for creating controversies in the past, does hold a promise to shake us up during the summer lull. Go find out if the issues 'then' are as relevant 'now'.
purva@khaleejtimes.com
mage through your bookshelves and DVD boxes (if you still have some) and list out the names of the classics in the collection. I'm certain that you still have a copy of, say, a Jane Austen or a Charles Dickens title, right? Your movie list must boast a Satyajit Ray or an Audrey Hepburn. We love classics, even the remixed versions of a few classic numbers. After all, there's nothing like reliving the golden era or introducing the younger generations to the past.
But do classics necessarily fare well on the stage? The jury is out in the theatre fraternity in Dubai. Is our theatre-going audience a fan of thou, thee, thy, thyself and thine? Is it mature enough to give the classics a chance to lure them as a live form of performing arts? Does the audience have the patience to watch an old tale? Is Dubai willing to lighten its pocket for such a show? Or is it just that we can never get enough of the classics?
As local theatre company Tall Tales Production preps to bring Ghosts by Henrik Ibsen to the stage this weekend, I can't help but ask these questions, yet again. The play, originally written in Danish by Henrik Ibsen, was scripted in 1881 and staged for the first time in 1882. To bring to the stage a play scripted 138 years ago is not an easy task. This one deals with bold themes, such as intimacy, religion, infidelity, euthanasia and more.
Those who love classics can argue that, after all, we've (often) staged Romeo and Juliet (published in 1595) and The Great Gatsby (published in 1925) as well. Asad Raza Khan, the heart and mind, behind Tall Tales Production, has in the past presented classics like Sherlock, Shakespeare in the Sands, and more.
As a performer, there's nothing more exciting than slipping into the timeless characters, many will agree. The producers of such plays also suggest that relying on classics is a safe bet. Others call them risk-takers, but I disagree ­- we need to respond to the changing tastes of the audience. Perhaps, rewrite parts of the script or introduce newer elements. But then, would that not ruin the sanctity of the work itself? Something the art world struggles to agree to disagree upon.
How Ghosts, directed by Ramchandaran Shanker, fares this weekend shall tell. Its cast includes Humera Sultana, Ashleigh Adonis, Kailash Nair, Greg Lunn and Ziyad Bangara. I've seen Humera and Kailash light up the stage on many occasions, so I'm looking forward to watching them yet again. The cast is stellar and the tickets are up for sale. Nevertheless, the tragedy, known for creating controversies in the past, does hold a promise to shake us up during the summer lull. Go find out if the issues 'then' are as relevant 'now'.
Where: The Junction, Alserkal Avenue, Dubai
When: 23 and 24 August, 7.30 pm
Cost: Dh100/ticket, available at the counter & on platinumlist.net
Age Limit: 13 and above

purva@khaleejtimes.com


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