Adding to the list of musical theaters in Nepal, 'Hip Hop Coppelia' got off the mark with the Nepali audiences showcasing a cast of enthusiastic local actors and French born director cum lead actor, Alize Biannic. The play ran from 18th to 20th January for a total of six shows at The Russian Culture Centre in Kathmandu. Adapted from the comic ballet based on Der Sandmannand Die Puppe by E.T.A. Hoffmann (choreographed by Arthur Saint-Leon to the music of Leo Delibes with liberetto by Charles Louis EtinenneNuitter during its first premier at 'Theatre Imperial Opera' in Paris in 1870), this particular project of Biannic with her theater group was well received by an audience comprised of both local and foreign enthusiasts.
"The play received a very good turnover of audiences and positive reviews throughout its three days of staging," says Saroj Aryal, a local veteran theater actor and one of the play's coordinators. A total of twenty-two theater artistes had worked together for the act's brilliant presentation. Actors Paramita Rana and Amrit Dhakal played the lead roles as Sophie and Paul respectively. Alize herself played the role of Coppelius. The play was organized by SOLIS Performing Arts, a company founded by the director herself.
Through much of the dance 'extravaganza', the audiences were appreciative of the choreography of the dances, ballet and its hip-hop sequences that signified the essence of the original form of the play, written and staged back in the late 19th century. Likewise, the group performances of the artistes during the various scenes captivated the audience especially during the climax of the play.
The original plot remains the same in Hip Hop Coppelia. The change in names of the lead characters from Swanhilda to Sophie and Franz to Paul does hint at the fact that there’s improvisation although the context largely remains the same. The actors seemed to be enjoying themselves during the dance sequences and steps and the background music too. The style in which the sets have been designed and the way the sequences are choreographed does make the play unique.
Alize's efforts to put a smile on the faces of the Nepali audiences undoubtedly met with resounding success. She has been working towards uplifting the skills, talents and lifestyle of most of the Nepali youngsters who come to work under her wing. That makes it plain to see why she has involved so many individuals in a single play. Moreover, the teamwork that is seen among the different actors as well as their collective performances suggests that this was a representation of the typical neo-cultural spirit that Nepali youth strive for today.