When I walked over to the Zilker Hillside Theater last week, I expect to see a traditional staging of Twelfth Night or What You Will. But instead Austin Shakespeare reimagined this famous comedy as a Bollywood production, set in India with colorful traditional costumes. What an entertaining way to see a Shakespeare play!
The production included several Bollywood-style dance numbers. Local Austin singer/songwriter Naga Valli composed and recorded original music and also performed before the play began.
At intermission, we checked some sections of the script and, with just a few exceptions, the actors stayed true to the original lines. Even the lyrics were based on the original text.
Bollywood and Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night fit together surprisingly well. Both have melodramatic, complicated storylines with oversized characters. The lead actors (especially the actors playing Viola/Cesario and Sir Toby) were excellent and made the Shakespearean English sound perfectly matched to the Indian setting.