The bowler was ready, with the batsman prepared to face his stride. What are you thinking? No it’s not a cricket match. It was the pre-rehearsed game session of A Different Romeo and Juliet, which is a unique stage production of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet featuring young artists with disabilities.
The British Council in Bangladesh in collaboration with the UK’s Graeae Theatre Company and Dhaka Theatre, has organised the production which is set to be staged in March next year.
The tragedy belongs to a traditional sad romance based on Italian tales. But in A different Romeo and Juliet the audience will see a different momentum in blend with Western and Bengali theatre consisting of panchali, folk and palagan.
The characters who play Romeo and Juliet, are artists with disabilities but their performances would shade alternative tone of the tragedy. Interestingly, the play would be staged in three different languages- Bangla, English and sign languages. Audiences will get to hear the famous dialogues such as “My bounty is as boundless as the sea, my love as deep; the more I give to thee, the more I have, for both are infinite” infused with Bengali folk music.
Audience will observe a narrative and musical play enjoying the beauty of it’s form. The play goes to show that there is no boundary or restriction in art and language.
The production is led by Jenny Sealey, artistic director of Graeae Theatre Company in collaboration with Dhaka Theatre’s Nasiruddin Yousuff. The main concept was given by Eeshita Azad, head of arts of British Council.
Speaking about the project, Jenny Sealey said, “I feel so privileged to be part of this epic journey and proud to be the part of history, since it is the first time the two countries are collaborating. The important thing in this project is to show the world that people with impairment can do anything.”
In his speech Nasiruddin Yousuff said: “Personally, I don’t believe in any disability, rather I believe in art and culture with developing attitude. Shakespeare’s work transcends the boundaries of time and culture. I am honoured to be a part of this project.”
The artists are drawn from different participants with disabilities from CRP-Bangladesh, BRAC, BRIDGE and Gram Theatre in Bangladesh.