A three day festival with William Shakespeare as the theme kicked off with a play competition at a city school on Monday. The festival—where 10 top schools of the city will take part—is in honour of the bard, whose 400th death anniversary is being celebrated across the world this year.
For the play competition, each participating school will be enacting two to three scenes from Shakespeare’s popular works. The duration for each performance will be about 70 minutes. The plays selected for the competition are The Merchant of Venice, Hamlet, Othello, Julius Caesar, Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth, A MidSummer Night’s Dream and The Tempest.
The participating schools are Loreto House, DPS New Town, St. James, Sushila Birla for Girls, Ballygunge Siksha Sadan, Calcutta International School, La Martiniere for Girls, Akshar and South City International School.
The two schools who performed on the first day of the festival were Sushila Birla Girl’s School and Delhi Public School(New Town). Both school performed Shakespeare’s Macbeth. The judges present on the first day of the festival were Anjana Basu and Suktara Lal. Anjana Basu runs an advertising consultancy and has worked with legendary Bengali director Rituparno Ghosh while Suktara Lal, daughter of Professor Ananda Lal, works for an NGO.
Another event will be a debate on whether Shakespeare really wrote his plays. About eight or nine teams are expected to take part in the competition. One of the organisers of the festival indicated that this could be an annual event. Similar events surrounding classic English authors like Jane Austen and Emile Bronte could also take shape in the future.
The festival kicked off a few days ago with a panel discussion titled, “Is Shakespeare Contemporary?” The speakers included actor Barun Chanda, Professor Ananda Lal,Ramanjit Kaur, whose film credits include Deepa Mehta’s Fire and was moderated by the co-Director of the Apeejay Kolkata Literary Festival (AKLF), Anjum Katyal.