International students of Asian University for Women, Chittagong stage the play. Photo: Prabir Das
The audience at the Rooftop Auditorium of Asian University for Women (AUW) in Chittagong were spellbound by an array of international students of the university performing William Shakespeare's “A Midsummer Night's Dream”.
“Shakespeare's plays are very difficult to stage, even by experienced performers; yet, the students of AUW took on the challenge of bringing the play on stage.
Credit is due to the director of the play, Mukul Ahmed, who has long been in the UK, for generating the zeal among the participating students.
The students did not disappoint the audience and the prolonged applause from the audience at the conclusion of the play was proof enough of their appreciation.
The play revolves around the lives of two suitors, Lysander and Demetrius. A young lady Hermia loves Lysander, while her father Egeus wants her to marry Demetrius. Hermia's friend Helena on the other hand falls in love with Demetrius. Hermia and Lysander run away to escape the wrath of her father.
Helena and Demetrius follow the couple in order to foil their plan and in the fairy-enchanted woods, they all fall victim to the charm of the fairies' love potions.
Titania, the fairy queen, also succumbs to the magic love juice put into her eyes by her fairy king, Oberon, following a love-wrangle between them. At the end, with the help of actors, Bottom, Puck and others who perform at King Theseus and Queen Hyppolyta's wedding, the lovers are united and reconciled with each other.
Eighteen students from 13 countries performed in the play. The director said he needed three weeks to rehearse the play and get the theatrical production off the ground.
Five songs in five different languages, Bangla, English, Nepali, Sinhalese and Vietnam, were rendered in the play. All the female students enacted the roles of both male and female characters.
Yagel Azariya, a student of AUW, from Sri Lanka, who portrayed the role of Bottom, proved the star of the show. Thao Le from Vietnam, who enacted the role of Helena, also captivated the audience. Najma Islam of Bangladesh as Hermia received acclaim from the audience too.
The audience were also captivated by the flute playing of Christa Thorpe, who is the director of the Access Academy of AUW.
The simple but significant set design by Kevin Jenkins also brought the flavour of the Shakespearean age on the stage.
This was the second staging of the play, produced by Sara Amin and Sangita Ravamaihi, the two faculty members of AUW.