March 17, 2017

This Sunday, a mighty storm will blow through a bamboo grove, bringing with it raging seas, wrecked ships and sighs of hearts split asunder. Lovers will meet only to part, duels will be fought and friendships will be put to the test - all accompanied by music, which after all, is the food of love, and a healthy dose of laughs!

Intrigued? Come see for yourself at Cubbon Park this Sunday, March 19, and watch the Bardolators of Bangalore play on with Twelfth Night, or What You Will.

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 "But that's all one, our play is done; And we'll strive to please you every day." - The Bardolators of Bangalore

A group of 11 young Bangaloreans from diverse professional backgrounds, the Bardolators of Bangalore, got together two years ago with the aim of making Shakespeare accessible by staging free plays in a public space. "Cubbon Park was a unanimous choice. Not only is it accessible to people from all walks of life, but it also is an excellent natural setting to stage Shakespeare", says Shruthi Chandrasekaran.

Driven mostly by word-of-mouth and social media, the audience has grown with every show. Their first

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"O Hero! What a hero hadst thou been!" - Much Ado About Nothing

 

play, Much Ado About Nothing in March 2015, played to an audience of about a 100 people – mostly friends, colleagues and family, who were soon joined by curious onlookers. By their third performance in January 2016, the audience had swelled to a sizable 2000. Citizens of all ages have been turning up, driven by curiosity to see something new in the normally sedate grove.

The group uses minimal props and no mics, relying instead on the wind to carry their voices. Using a park as a stage often involves sudden last minute improvisations such as accommodating a wandering dog or a treacherous bramble. "The technical aspects are beyond our control so we move the stage and shift positions on show days to adapt to changing light. Often, the final scenes look completely different from the ones blocked during rehearsal!", says Darshana Mitra.

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 "The course of true love never did run smooth" - A Midsummer Night's Dream
Photo: Amit Bansal

 

Balancing theatre among other professional and personal commitments, this is a labour of love for the Bardolators. The shows are free, and the plays are funded by the actors themselves. "We want to think about Shakespeare and theatre not as professionals, but as amateurs, and expand the boundaries of literary levity in our everyday lives, for both us and those who watch us." says Archit Guha.

Catch the Bardolators of Bangalore this Sunday at Cubbon Park, at 10 am and 4 pm!