Deccan Chronicle | When Dr Seuss meets the Bard

Peter Bloedel gives Shakespeare the ‘full Seuss treatment’ in his The Seussification of a Midsummer Nights Dream. Directed by Judith Roby Bidappa, who is making her comeback to direction through Tortilla Entertainment. Bidappa has strayed away from the usual theatre circles, opening the space up to amateur, part time actors instead.

“We’re doing it for fun,” she says. The play is part of Jagriti’s Curtain Raisers, a festival that allows directors to pick a play of their choice, just as long as it hasn’t been done before. “We had open auditions through Tortilla,” she said, “And it’s good to know that English theatre in the city is alive and kicking.” Bloedel’s whimsical reinvention of the Bard’s best loved comedy is written in rhyming couplets and tells the tale of the four Athenian lovers who wander through a forest filled with ‘whoosh bush tush beasts’ and fairies duelling with ‘bumballoon swords’.

Bloedel, a professor of theatre at the Bethany Lutheran College in Minnesota and part time Vaudeville artist, has written a number of plays. including The Seussification of Romeo and JulietThe Rules of Comedy and Jam Jar Sonnets. “The play is often nonsensical at the expense of sense,” said Bidappa. The story is told by a couple of narrators who take you through the Shakespearan storyline, through the kaleidoscopic eyes of Dr Seuss.

“Shakespeare is the playwright, he wrote tragedies too,” explains Bidappa, for the uninitiated. The already witty story of radically charged lovers caught well in the throes of romance takes a turn for the bizarre, but that, apparently, is what you can expect when Bloedel tries his hand at it. The play doesn’t seem to have been performed outside of Vaudevillian college fests in the United States yet, but the somewhat long-winded comedy is getting exactly what it needs – a parody, which will work out well as long as we don’t take ourselves too seriously!

Read as it appeared in Deccan Chronicle here.