During the first week of its residency, the Royal Shakespeare Company captured Ann Arbor. With workshops galore and 10 totally exquisite performances of “Coriolanus” and “The Merry Wives of Windsor,” it seemed as if Shakespeare himself was walking about the streets of campus.
Upholding their reputation of excellency, this week promises to be just as exhilarating as the last. The RSC has packed the week full of many interesting talks and workshops, and on top of everything, this Wednesday marks the opening night of the world renowned, U.S. debut of Salman Rushdie’s “Midnight’s Children” (newly adapted for the stage). The debut performance will be at the Power Center at 7:30 p.m., followed by a post performance reception.
The excitement begins Tuesday, however, with two scheduled talks. The first is a round table discussion, from 4-5:30 p.m. at Rackham Auditorium, entitled “All the World and the Stage: The Theatre and a Global Audience.” This discussion will look at how “Midnight’s Children,” as a play, spans cultural divides. Some questions to be discussed are, “To what extent can values of one culture and era be translated into another cultural context, with other decora, and retain their power, authenticity and pertinence?” and “Can there be a global theatre?”
Tuesday’s events continue at 7:30 p.m., also at Rackham Auditorium, with a public interview with Salman Rushdie entitled “Indian History, Politics and the Making of ‘Midnight’s Children.'” This interview will highlight Mr. Rushdie’s thoughts and opinions on a broad spectrum of topics, ranging from the media to intellectual freedom, free speech, politics, religion and family life.
Prior to the performance Wednesday evening, there are two more opportunities to attend discussions connected to the play. At 11 a.m., Rushdie will again be at Rackham Auditorium to participate in a public interview and reading. This program, entitled “The Literary Rushdie” will include a talk with Rushdie about his body of work, and he will personally read an excerpt from his canon.
Following the interview, the International Symposium: “Knowing South Asia: Reflections on the World of Salman Rushdie,” will begin at 1:30 p.m. This symposium “will elaborate on the complex links among nation, religion and diversity in the writings of Salman Rushdie.”
The RSC “Insight” on “Midnight’s Children,” which will take place from 4:30-6 p.m. at the Power Center, will finish up the extra events accompanying the play. This event will entail a behind-the-scenes lecture and demonstration on the Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of “Midnight’s Children.”
To enable anyone who desires to see the production, the RSC will be performing “Midnight’s Children” on Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m., and on Saturday and Sunday at 1:30 p.m. All performances are at the Power Center, and tickets can be purchased through the UMS ticket office or by calling 764-2538.