Theater News By JK Clarke
Much of Shakespeare’s great appeal is the universality of its themes. The stories are relatable to pretty much any culture around the world. So it stands to reason that there are infinite interpretations of his most popular plays. The forthcoming Bollywood-themed Romeo & Juliet, in February 2015, by the newly formed Hypokrit Theatre Company, will be a chance for New Yorkers to see a much loved classic radically re-imagined. And very likely with a lot of dancing. (Bollywood generally refers to the Hindi film industry out of Mumbai, but “Bollywood” usually implies a colorful production with a good deal of singing and dancing, particularly with a large production number at the end.)
Hypokrit, which held its official launch party at the Empire Hotel last Thursday, was formed by Arpita Mukherjee and Shubhra Prakash. Ms. Mukherjee, a writer, director, producer and choreographer, explains that by choosing the name “Hypokrit” (from the Greek terms for “actor” and the concepts of artifice and pretend), the company wishes to convey they are “particularly interested in the contemporary audience’s relationship to classics and what it means to update a classic.” Ms. Prakash, a writer, director and actor as well, says that while Shakespeare is quite popular in India, she believes this may be the first time an Indian/Bollywood style Shakespeare production will take place in New York and will cater to the city’s “diverse audiences, including traditional theatre-goers as well as untapped communities.”
Hypokrit is also taking the unique approach of having a dual cast for the play, not just as understudies, but as an alternate production cast. “Giving the the second cast ownership of some shows makes them even more invested in the company, promoting it, and it builds a family,” said Mukherjee.
Thursday’s well-attended, energetic cocktail reception featured Capulet Cosmopolitans and Montague Martinis to get the colorfully dressed crowd in a festive and thematic mood and featured a cinematic trailer for the play which can be seen here:
So, come February you can dance the cold away at an innovative exciting new production of a timeless classic.
Hypokrit Theatre Company can be contacted at www.hypokritnyc.org. They are presently seeking corporate and individual support and sponsorship. Romeo & Juliet begins February 3 at the Access Theater in SoHo.