Shakespeare influenced Urdu drama, theatre, says Russian expert

March 21st, 2009 - 6:02 pm ICT by ANI  

Islamabad, Mar 21 (ANI): At the four-day series of lectures and dialogue on evolution of Urdu drama and theatre titled ”Early Urdu Theatre: Traditions and Transformations”, Russian scholar Dr Anna Suvorova spoke on ”Shakespearean Influence on Urdu Drama and Theatre”.
The event, which had been organised by the National College of Arts, Rawalpindi, took place at the National Art Gallery, and it entered its third day on March 20.
In her lecture, Suvorova said Shakespearean drama, translated into regional Indian languages, was strongly adapted to Indian theatre.
“Apart from trying to adapt Shakespearean” plays to the South Asian tastes and realities, translators also sought to pick out problems which the local audience would find especially moving,” The Daily Times quoted her as saying.
“This inevitably resulted in displaced accents. For example, the Indian readers of Othello were particularly excited by racial motive, which were made even more sensitive with a hint at cast issues,” she said.
She said in times of the Partition, the tragedy of King Lear who had disguised heroes, women dressed in men’’s clothes, everything that’’s included in a notion of mistaken identity and which is so extensively used in Shakespeare’’s plays, had also been widely employed both in narrative and theatrical tradition across the subcontinent.
“As for the Parsi theatre, with its commercial principles, the discovery of Shakespeare was truly a miracle, with his works opening up a wealth of new opportunities,” she stated.
“A whole number of theatre companies, including Alfred’’s Theatrical Company, New Alfred’’s Theatrical Company, Indian Shakespeare Theatrical Company etc, staged almost only the adapted versions of Shakespeare’’s plays throughout the years of 1890-1910,” she added.
She said Shakespeare’’s presence enriched the Urdu drama with new subject lines, expanding its reach, and providing it with new subtle hues.
“However, what is even more significant is that a somewhat contaminating effect the Shakespearean drama had on the Urdu drama and theatre aesthetics, bringing to it a modernised vision of man, portrayed as a character, and of the whole world, transformed into action,” she said. (ANI)

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