Love's Labor's Lost In 60's India

William Shakespeare’s “Love’s Labor’s Lost” reminded director Michael Kahn of the 1960s, when celebrities and others swarmed to India to study transcendental meditation with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.

So when it came time to stage a production of the play for the Shakespeare Theatre in Washington, Kahn morphed the royals and nobles who ruled the roost in western Europe into “three guys in a band” and Vespa-driving female diplomats with a taste for short skirts.
The three friends agree to go into seclusion, forgo women and study with an Indian prince-guru. But they break their vow and fall for the women. It is the same play as Shakespeare’s, just a different setting.

“I don’t believe in changing periods for periods without reason,” Kahn said. “Immediately I could think only of the 1960s and how everyone went to the Maharishi.”

Kahn does not alter Shakespeare’s text, though there are some cuts. The play is full of Shakespearean poetry, including several sonnets, and allusions to life – both public and private life – in the England of Queen Elizabeth I. 

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