Shakespeare in Canada Essay

1657 Words 7 Pages
Shakespeare in My Canada

If you ask my dad about Shakespeare, he will quote you a soliloquy from
Macbeth. If you ask my dad about Kathakali, he will instantly quote you a poetic epic from the Mahabharata. If you ask my dad about how Shakespeare and Kathakali fit together, in truth, he is not quite sure. I was not sure of the reasons myself, when I first started thinking about what Shakespeare in my Canada meant to me, why I immediately thought of Kathakali. Kathakali is an indigenous art form of Kerala, the southernmost state of India, and my father's home. It is an extremely expressive form of dance-drama, originally performed to tell the stories of the major Indian epics, the Mahabharata and the Ramayana. In recent years,
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Growing up in predominantly white Kingston, Ontario as quite literally one of a handful of visible minorities, this is certainly a social element that has gone into the shaping of my Canada.
For a long time, I tried to escape the fact that I was and always would be recognized as
Indian, but fortunately, this is a fact that I have come to accept and wholeheartedly embrace. It is no wonder then that when it comes to connecting Shakespeare to my personal experience as a Canadian, I must look for a way to connect it to my experience of being Indian. At the Kala Nidhi Fine Arts of Canada institution in Toronto, Ontario, I discovered a fascinating way through which this is being achieved. Kala Nidhi's goal is to both preserve Indian artistic traditions and at the same time nurture contemporary works of Indian dance in Canada. During their seventh international dance festival which took place in March of 2004 entitled "A Century of Indian Dance," Kala Nidhi featured a
Kathakali performance by Paris-based dancer, Annette Leday, who presented "Stuff of
Dreams," a fusion of Kathakali and Western modern dance inspired by Shakespeare's The
Tempest (Khandwani, 2005).1 It is perhaps ironic that Leday chose a story so deeply involved with the power of language to adapt using the basically silent Kathakali form, but as Fischlin suggests, "... sources lead to adaptation, that is, to (inter)textual choices

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