Many shades of Shakespeare’s plays create magic on stage at L.U.

Lucknow: The Department of English and Modern European Languages organized the first edition of Shakespeare Literature Festival  at Malviya Auditorium. The program was concluded under the auspices of  Vice Chancellor of Lucknow University, Professor Alok Kumar Rai. Faculty and students from all the faculties of the university including Professor Arvind Awasthi, Dean, Faculty of Arts and Professor Poonam Tandon, Dean Student Welfare were also present during the celebration.

The event was an attempt to showcase the different aspects of William Shakespeare’s dramatic craft, showcasing the different shades of dramatic expertise of the Bard of Avon, William Shakespeare. It was marked by an extraordinary display of talent by the students of the department. Shivangi Gautam and Hashmita Arora jointly performed the functions of the coordinator of the function.

The program began with the welcome of the guests and the melodious Saraswati Vandana sung by Sapna Dubey. Thereafter, Sapna Dubey, Surbhi Singh, Aastha Patel and Geeta Sharma sang the Vishwavidyalaya Kulgeet with great zeal and enthusiasm. The guests were formally welcomed by Maitreyi Priyadarshini.

The National Education Policy 2020 emphasizes the role of arts in education and the entire event served to further the common goal of integrating creative arts into the curriculum. The event has grown to emerge as a platform for future students to participate in, learn from, team building and sensitize them to the nuances of the art of theatre. The event also marked the formal launch of the first issue of the third volume of Rhetorica, the journal of the Department of English and Modern European Languages.

Thereafter, Prof. Nazneen Khan delivered an introductory speech on English playwright William Shakespeare. This was followed by the introduction of the first edition of the Shakespeare Literary Festival by Dr. Vineet Maxwell David. This was followed by performances of various scenes and characters from Shakespeare’s plays.

Shashwat Pandey enacts Mark Antony’s speech, “Friends, Romans, countrymen” from Julius Caesar, Sachin Pandey recites William Shakespeare’s Sonnet 18. Gargi Dwivedi played the character of Calpurnia while Mansi Yadav played the role of Julius Caesar from the play Julius Caesar. Manya Jain also presented a Kathak dance performance on Lady Macbeth’s hypnotic rendition of Macbeth’s letter reading. Areeb Zahra and Puneet Pathak enacted a scene from the Urdu translation of Romeo and Juliet. Rajkumar Singh delivers the “It Is the Cause Othello” speech from Othello. Akash Mishra performed Iago’s speech from Othello “What’s given that says I play the villain”. Subsequently, researchers Akshay Bhardwaj, Varsha Pathak, Vatsal Sharma and Prerna Anmol staged a Bhojpuri translation of The Tempest.

It was titled Andhad and it was translated by Akshay Bhardwaj. This was followed by a soulful dance performance by Shubhangi Soni to a classical song from the sleepwalking scene of Macbeth. Mansi performed Ophelia’s speech, “Oh what a mind here is overthroned”, from Hamlet. Anupam Kumar read out Sonnet 29 of Shakespeare. This was followed by an evocative grave digger scene from Hamlet enacted in Urdu by Khalid Qayoom Pare and Alina Nasir. Khalid also recited a love poem in Kashmiri and Shivangi translated the same. Sonia Chhimwal performed Rosalind’s speech, “So Was I When Your Highness Took His Dukedom”, from As You Like It. Umme Kulsoom recited Allama Iqbal’s Shakespearean Sonnet 156 in Urdu, translated by Dr. Mustansir Mir. Jyotirmoy Joshi performed the soliloquy “To Be or Not to Be” from Hamlet. Kaushiki Singh recited his original poem “Bard of Avon”, which he wrote on William Shakespeare.

Sanchali Raj played the role of Portia from The Merchant of Venice. Yagya Gupta presented classical dance. Alina Nasser played the witch from Macbeth. Mansi Vishwakarma reads Sonnet 116 of William Shakespeare. Pragya Tiwari played Lady Macbeth from Macbeth. Pranjal Kumar Singh presented Jacques’ speech from As You Like It, titled “The World Is a Stage”. The performance ended with Puneet Pathak performing Macbeth’s speech, “Is This a Dagger I See Before Me”.

The mesmerizing performances by the students and research scholars enthralled the audience.

Prof. Meenakshi Pahwa formally proposed the vote of thanks. The mesmerizing display of their talent by the students was highly appreciated. The event was a gentle reminder of Shakespeare’s literary merits as a playwright.

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