|sent from: London, UK. destination: Bombay, India|
The RSC’s production of Much Ado About Nothing has had the brilliant idea of setting the play in India, and cast it with only actors of South Asian descent. The slightly muddled story of love, romance, family honour, tragedy (with a song and dance ending) takes on a relevance and understandable setting that the play otherwise lacks, with our western understanding of family honour and its place in our culture. The only thing that took me out of it, then, was keeping the setting and character names from the original; Messina, Don Pedro. They seamlessly added a lot of Indian patter to the dialogue and back and forth, and at one crucial point the word ‘Italy’ was replaced by ‘India’, so would it not have made sense to have replaced all the references to specific places and perhaps Indian-ised the names too? For instance:
Claudio ~ Kaalia.
Hero ~ Dheera.
Beatrice ~ Anjali.
Benedict ~ Aditya.. and so on. Hanji?