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Vivek is returning to the Canberra Theatre Scene after an almost 18 Month hiatus—apologies to the droves of adoring fans who have felt neglected by his theatre-absence. (Note: when fans were approached for comment, it was persistently clarified that the moniker “adoring fans” had been chosen with some license).
Throughout his performance career, Vivek has actively pursued diverse performance opportunities in a bid to increase the breadth of his skillset and experience. During his recent absence from traditional theatre, Vivek appeared in a number of dance gigs (Subsdance Studios 2017-2018), and also performed as ‘Francis Bernard II’ in the interactive Murder-Mystery Nights (Queanbeyan Railway Barracks, 2018). Vivek most recently played ‘Paul’ in The Inheritance (Budding Theatre, 2017), and ‘Claudio’ in Much Ado about Nothing (Canberra Repertory Society, 2015). Vivek also spent some time in Musical Theatre, performing in the ensembles of Chicago (Canberra Philharmonic Society, 2017), and Funny Girl (Supa Productions, 2016). Though to date, one of his favourite roles has been ‘Zak’ in the one-man monologue Zak and Reefa’s Bollywood Funeral (Canberra Fringe Festival, 2015), for the obvious reason that Vivek loves attention and did not have to share the stage with anyone else. He’s still trying to change Twelfth Night into a one-man monologue for Antonio, despite widespread opposition from his cast mates.
Vivek believes that storytelling is the single most powerful way to change the world. Every culture has told stories to record their histories, to teach lessons, to invoke empathy, and to simply entertain audiences. When it comes to this production of Twelfth Night, Vivek has never been more proud or excited to tell a story, nor to join a cast and crew of such skilled and passionate storytellers. Vivek hopes to move to the UK soon to further pursue acting at an Acting School.
I first studied Romeo and Juliet around Year 8 or 9 (which I have studied and loved multiple times since). As I’ve studied it a few times during different stages of my life (from secondary school up to University), what I have noticed is that I have discovered new things in the text each time-- and this is the case across many of Shakespeare’s texts. At first I was fascinated by his language and how different it was to how we speak today. The older I got, I started to appreciate the rhetoric of Shakespeare’s language; the artistry of how he uses his words to convey the incredible ideas and feelings and thoughts of his characters. When I was younger I didn’t always understand what his words were saying, but I loved to say them nonetheless. I think it’s clear how Shakespeare has impacted culture-- even today, film, television and literature all borrow from him. Many audience members watch modern stories without realising that they are watching an adaptation of Shakespeare. I think this speaks to Shakespeare’s storytelling abilities, and how his stories were timeless. even when the language changes, his ideas and themes and stories. In the hundreds of years since he lived, we still haven’t had anyone write the way that Shakespeare did.
ON SHAKESPEARE BY THE LAKES
I’ve never performed outdoors before like this! I think this is such a good idea-- Canberra is a planned city with so many wonderful outdoor areas that we just don’t utilise. Canberrans love spending their time outdoors and they want to have things to do. High Quality Shakespeare is already not very accessible in Australia, and especially not in Canberra, which is an absolute shame. Shakespeare By The Lakes fills this gap perfectly! I think Canberrans have a real curiosity for Shakespeare, and even for those who don’t-- there are so many reasons to see this show that you don’t lose out if you come along. It’s free (to my knowledge, presently unheard of in Canberra); it allows people to come together and enjoy our wonderful public spaces; and it brings together some exciting food and drink vendors. Shakespeare By The Lakes is more than just a play: it is an event, and a very Canberran experience.
ON TWELFTH NIGHT
I think the very interesting thing about Twelfth Night is the examination of gender and sexuality. The play was written hundreds of years ago, and during a time where women (for the most part) were not allowed to Act. Viola/Cesario would have been played by a male actor in a female role, in disguise as a male-- the layers are complex! We have spent a lot of time as a company trying to figure out why Viola dresses up as a man, and we all have very different takes (all of which are valid). I see it as an exploration of the difference in privilege between men and women-- which is particularly relevant in today’s political climate. I feel that Viola adopts the guise of a male in order to ensure safety, increase her status, and transcend the limitations of being a woman in a heavily patriarchal world. I’m not sure if this demonstrates the timeless nature of Shakespeare, or the slow progress of equality since his time… however with a 2019 lens we can still see many of these themes as still relevant.