“No man will write a better tragedy than King Lear” – George Bernard Shaw.
William Shakespeare is truly the greatest bard among all. His comedies and tragedies were not only revolutionary during his time but have continued to inspire many since then. It is truly an enchanting experience to watch a Shakespeare play being performed. As the actors transport you to an era of the kings and queens, a time when death and betrayal were rampant you truly understand the depth of human emotions. These plays are a treasure when it comes to their relevance in contemporary times and as a result, there have been countless adaptations of these stories. Rajat Kapoor has also joined the ranks of the many who have adapted the Shakespeare’s work over the years. But he has delivered it with his own twist. We have clowns performing these tragedies for us and you know no one takes clowns seriously.
King Lear is considered one of the greatest tragedies of Shakespeare. It was a tale full of betrayal, death and one’s descent into madness. Nothing Like Lear is literally nothing like King Lear but it is a tragedy nonetheless in its own right.
Performed by Vinay Pathak, the play begins with him dressed as a clown entering the stage and letting people know that the play hasn’t started yet and continues to talk to the audience as the lights dim. What follows is an almost two-hour long monologue which will make you laugh, cry, scared and in the end marvel at everything you have witnessed. Philip (Vinay Pathak) first talks about himself, his daughter and his brother. He tells us his encounters with depression and how his daughter has moved to France. He also talks about his brother. Between these tails, he enacts scenes from King Lear. The scenes from King Lear are beautifully interwoven with the tales from his life. And it is at that moment you realize that how relevant the bard is even now.
If you ever doubted that Vinay Pathak is an excellent performer, this play should change it all. Not only he manages to capture the attention of the audience for the whole duration of the show, but his portrayal of different characters impresses you the most. With a slight change in tone, he was a different person altogether and all of that with clown makeup over his face. Not only does the script flow superbly from one tale to another taking you on an emotional roller-coaster ride. There are a lot of moments when Vinay improvises as he has conversations with the audience. His character although very well read has trouble remembering some words and moments where he tries to remember those words with helpful inputs from the audience (although he explicitly asked the audience not to help), will certainly make you grin.
Nothing Like Lear has been there for nearly five years now. Rajat Kapoor deserves a lot of credit for bringing to light Shakespeare in such a unique way. The latest performance was at Prithvi. This is definitely one of the plays you won’t mind watching multiple times.
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