Ethereal scenes

The adaptation of ‘Macbeth’ in Malayalam was thought-provoking.

‘Macbeth,’ the latest attempt in Malayalam to reinvent Shakespeare’s tragic play, was not just another block in the long line of adaptations of the classic. M.G. Jyotish, the director of the venture, wanted to make his version of the play to speak a language of its own and thanks to innovative theatrical techniques and excellent acting his daring endeavour proved to be as thought-provoking as it was pleasurable. Indeed, for two hours the play captured the attention of the audience as they watched with bated breath the trauma that unfolded on stage.

Key incidents

‘Macbeth’ dwells on the lives of Macbeth, a general in the army of King Duncan; Lady Macbeth, and Banquo, Macbeth’s friend and confidante. “I want to focus on those three characters, who also represent id, ego and super ego of the human mind,” says Jyotish.

In this version, the director leaves the linear narrative behind and instead focusses on the key incidents in the lives of the main characters.

Emotions and internal conflicts are effectively externalised, so much so that the audience felt involved and often traumatised as they were taken through the turbulent labyrinths of Macbeth’s mind. Macbeth’s wavering nature and the conflicts he undergoes were excellently reflected by characters who ripped his mind apart. As in the original, the adaptation too focussed on the dark side of human nature.

The audience were shown how susceptible human beings are to workings of evil. Add to that a dash of the devious Lady Macbeth, it is little wonder that the hero begins his journey to a hell that he himself creates. Macbeth slowly loses direction and cannot distinguish good from evil.

Angels, some dressed in white and some in black, flitted through the stage putting even the collective mind of the audience in a fix, let alone that of Macbeth.

Also an exquisite play of mirrors not only reflected the tormented minds of characters, but also subtly alerted and reminded the audience of evil that lurks everywhere.

The adaptation fluidly combined many scenes of the original so that the cumulative effect was as brilliant as the individual scenes themselves.

The banquet scene was especially brilliant. Together, the synchronised movements of actors, light effects and haunting music successfully added a new dimension to the Shakespearean adaptation.

Key monologues of the characters were also effectively portrayed. But the scene in which Macbeth has the illusion of a dagger poised to attack him was a bit of a dampener.

Raghoothaman brilliantly essayed the role of Macbeth. Even though Athira invested a lot of energy in portraying Lady Macbeth, wherever the play closed in on the original, the audience found her acting a little below expectations. However the role of Banquo was safe in the hands of Sreeni.

The play was presented by Abhinaya Theatre in partnership with the Banglore-based India Foundation for the Arts at the Abhinaya Theatre Village, Plathara, Venkode in Thiruvananthapuram.

The play will be staged in Delhi (January 9) and Lucknow (January 13).

Source: The Hindu

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About Manu Remakant

Manu has written 298 stories in Rum, Road & Ravings. You can read all posts by here.

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