The Tempest on Tour in India

King's alumna Tansy Troy (KC 1993) has been co-directing a production of The Tempest in the heart of the Himalayan countryside.

Tansy and her family have been living and working in India for the past two years at a British-Indian Partnership school, coincidentally called King's College India, where they have formed a band of travelling players called the King's Company. Their latest venture has seen them take their production of Shakespeare's play from the school in Rohtak, near New Delhi, to Andretta, a village deep in the Himalayan countryside of Himachal Pradesh.

The play, first performed by the King’s Men in around 1611 at London’s Whitehall Palace, has been reimagined by Tansy and her co-director Shane Pancherez in an island setting somewhere in the Lakshawadeep archipelago, with Prospero becoming the wronged Maharaja of Harayana betrayed by Alonso, Maharaja of Rajasthan.

Tansy writes:

"Many of our young actors were only introduced to the world and words of Shakespeare a mere year ago: the talented cast of students aged 5-17 battled to rehearse in intense heat, heavy rain and high winds, grappling with antique vocabulary until a fine production was ready to offer up one balmy afternoon in March. Such was its reception that it soon became clear the magical voyage was set to continue.

After a month of further preparation, a revised cast set forth on board the night train to Pathankot to perform at the Norah Richards Centre for the Arts, built in memory of the Irish actress and playwright. The theatre itself, made entirely from mud and stone and set against a backdrop of verdant forest rich with paradise flycatchers and bulbuls, is a paradise enough for any troupe of wandering minstrels. The King’s Company were quick to adapt and inhabit their new space, rehearsing tirelessly and drumming up custom by parading in costume around the village of Andretta with saxophone and song to invite their mainly Hindi-speaking audience to witness something out of the ordinary.

Hosted by Atelier Lamitti, the rehearsals at the theatre began with something unusual: Reyaz, a master ceramicist, introduced himself to each member of the cast by presenting them with a ball of locally made clay. After an hour of focussed ‘clay play’, the cast were well and truly ‘earthed’ and centred enough to take new direction in their stride.

Genuine dramatic diamonds were discovered on this epic journey, with notable performances given by Shourya Aggarwal (Stephano), Chitvan Chahal (Caliban), Siddarth Rana (Trinculo) Elina Sandu (Iris), Joel Seharwat (Ariel), Harsidak Singh (Antonio), Gurvansh Singh (Sebastian), Faraz Saad Ali Siddiqui (Prospero), Zoya Hussain (Gonzalo), Rishabh Jain (Alonso), Utkharsh Goel (Ferdinand) and Vandita (Miranda)."

Tansy would be keen to connect with other King's alumni performing or creating Shakespeare around the world with communities of young people speaking English as a second language - please contact us in the first instance.

1 June 2019