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The Taming of the Shrew, Shakespeare’s Globe

Ilaaje Zid Dastiyaab Hay
Theatre Wallay, in association with KASHF foundation

Pros: A big achievement for Pakistan’s theatre scene.

Cons: Ran a bit long, especially the first half.

Our Verdict: Despite it’s difficulties, a great contribution to a brilliant festival.

Courtesy of Simon Annand for the Arts Desk

One of the wonderful things about the Globe to Globe festival – and there are many – is that as each country brings its play to the stage, each audience reflects the culture of that country too, as by default the play attract a significant number of audience members from the performing country. So I really shouldn’t have stressed out about getting to the Globe on time for Pakistan’s contribution, as the usual flexibility in time keeping was also in practice here (don’t worry – I can say it because of my own cultural background!). There was a great buzz in the theatre as people who wouldn’t normally venture into the Globe flocked in for the rarest of treats – an emerging theatre company from their native country performing in their own language on this most famous of stages. No doubt many of the audience were also excited to see well known Pakistani actors on stage, including Nadia Jamil who, as we understand it, is a pretty big deal.

The significance of the occasion was not lost on the actors either and actor Salman Shahid’s speech at the opening was especially heart-warming as he told us how honoured the company feels to be performing here.

Developed by Susanah Wilson, who has years of experience teaching in Pakistan, and directed by Haisam Hussain, this version sticks quite closing to Shakespeare’s original. Where it differs most, understandably, is in the humour, which is different in every culture. The biggest laughs in the play were definitely out of culture driven jokes and references to Pakistani pop culture and as such they tended to pass over the heads of those of us who don’t understand Urdu fully (and there’s only so many times I could ask my Mum for a translation!).

I can’t say that this play is on a par with the previous two we have seen, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Othello, however this production is pioneering in a different way. The company have had quite a battle to get this far, as there is sadly not much support in Pakistan for developing theatre. They have therefore had to raise quite a bit of the money themselves along with grants from various organisations in the UK, including the Globe itself.

As always with every Globe to Globe play, it is an absolute delight to see Shakespeare performed in different dress, language and music and I’m once again extremely glad to be in London to witness all the fun!

Please feel free to leave your thoughts and comments in the section below!

The Taming of the Shrew was part of the Globe to Globe Festival at Shakespeare’s Globe. Although it has finished it’s 3-performance run, more details on Globe to Globe can be found here: http://globetoglobe.shakespearesglobe.com/

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