Recently, the students of B.D Somani International School made a trip halfway across the world to Stratford upon Avon, for a nine-day study course at literary legend Shakespeare’s school. During this time, the students were exposed to the life of Shakespeare in an era void of fancy 3D glasses, digital projectors and elaborate sound systems.
There were six plays on the students’ itinerary (the sixth one being a last minute addition), and the students were given behind the scenes access to everything that goes into the production of these plays. They had the good fortune of seeing Antony and Cleopatra – a well-choreographed battle at sea, Titus Andronicus – countless acts of violence packed into one flawless performance, Between The Two – a range of emotions displayed by a single actor on a small scale production, Vice Versa – the sheer volume of double entendres in a short span of time, the political tension that enveloped the theatre during Julius Caesar, and a medley of contemporary, synchronised dance performances and a live band that was Much Ado About Nothing.
The trip also called for souvenir shop trips and tons of selfies that formed an essential part of their itinerary including a visit to Anne Hathway’s cottage, Mary Arden’s farm, Shakespeare’s birthplace, New Place, and the Grammar School at which he was taught Latin, Greek and Rhetoric. What enriched the students’ experience was the ability to meet and connect with professionals and academics that engaged closely with these works. The trip allowed for some very rewarding cultural exchange, not just with Stratford’s inhabitants, but with their fellow school-goers.
As part of their nine-day study course at Stratford Upon Avon, the students of B.D Somani wrote and choreographed a 20-minute classical Indian dance interpretation of Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra. It allowed them to use an alternative, unconventional medium to access the themes that Shakespeare so effortlessly brings out on page, and were able to draw parallels between the characters through their nuanced and sophisticated performance.
Catch the students’ mesmerising performance here