Literature, clashing cultures and global performance genres merge quaintly on the Indian stage, riding on legendary 16th century playwright William Shakespeare’s works at the National School of Drama’s annual theatre fest in the Capital.The annual showcase of the country’s premier drama school turned its spotlight on ‘inter-cultural Shakespeare’ this time, with a cache of six productions from across the world.These are a Hindi version of Twelfth Night; an Indian-British interpretation of The Tempest; a Bengali Macbeth; a retelling of Othello in Malayalam; a non-verbal Indian-American Shakespeare collage, The Knocking Within; and Julius Ceaser in Assamese by Guwahati’s Seagull Theatre group. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’Theatre critics said the festival reflected the globalization of a trend that began nearly 300 years ago in India when the British rulers brought Shakespeare’s plays to these shores to entertain the ‘white crew’ of the erstwhile East India Company.Today, Shakespeare has become part of the Indian heritage, a favourite across class and language divides. His works now spawn cross-cultural innovations.The flavour of Shakespeare on the Indian stage is now one of innovative conceptualism, where the bard’s stories are expressed as ideas. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixYamadoothu – After the death of Othello – a bilingual adaptation of Othello in Malayalam and Hindi by B. Abhimanyu dramatises the 30 minutes between the death of the body and the death of mind in the case of Othello. The play runs for 73 minutes.The production Indianised the performance without digressing from its original elements. Kalaripayatu – the native martial dance of Kerala – was used to good effect.’Before making the performance text, we had a clear cut idea about death – and the difference between body death and mind death. It is a scientific thing, the time period when you can see people but you can’t respond. It gives us a certain language to perform. All things appear dreamy,’ said Thrissur-based Abhimanyu. Explaining one possible reason why Shakespeare may be easily adapted across the world, Paddy Haytor, founder of French repertory company Footsbarn Theatre, said: ‘It is believed that most of Shakespeare’s plays were collated into a compendium of texts after his death as a result of which the texts were improvised many times.’Haytor has adapted Shakespeare’s The Tempest in English, Malayalam, French and Sanskrit in the outdoor style using traditional, operatic, Western folk and contemporary theatre elements. Last year, London’s Globe Theatre had commissioned Mumbai-based The Company Theatre to produce Piya Bahuroopiya, an Indian adaptation of Twelfth Night for the ‘Globe to Globe Shakespeare’ festival to coincide with the London Olympics.‘It renders itself to any language. But we were meant to stay with the rules of Shakespeare when we staged the play. But it has changed after we moved out of the Globe Theatre. We have restructured on the floor, allowing it to grow organically,’ director Atul Kumar told.The National School of Drama has re-invented Shakespeare in the Indian context. Two of the most memorable productions were a 1965 rendition of King Lear starring Om Shiv Puri and a 1989 production directed by Amal Allana in a Rajasthani milieu.