Rathan Thiyam's Macbeth does a stunner in Jammu


On the last day of the last month, a special theatrical version of Shakespeare's Macbeth, delivered by master director, Rathan Thiyam at Abhinav Theatre in Jammu was nothing less than a stunning spectacle for the audience present there that evening.

The highlight of Thiyam's presentation has been its unique design marked by a fresh eclectic theatrical manner. The Macbeth of Thiyam staged in Manipuri had drawn elements from Natyashasthra's classical discourses of dramaturgy, immensely stylised Noh theatre of japan and ancient Greek drama.

Starting from the opening scene that portrays the witches as an extension of jungles' vegetal world, the measured movements of the actors that made admirers reminisce Bharathanatyam dance form of South India, had been intriguingly pointing to the unique morphology of the presentation, the director had intended.

Besides, the Bharathanatyam inspired gaits, stances and poses of the actors everything from the costumes and hairstyle of the actors to the live musical background score realised through indigenous musical instruments; and even the illumination work on the stage formed part of well planned adjuncts integrated to the play's overall design.

Macbeth was originally told by Shakespeare as the tale of a Scottish general called Macbeth that had turned dangerously ambitious following the reception of a witches' prophecy that he would become Scotland's king one day. Spurned to action by his spouse, an ambitious Macbeth murders his King, Duncan and grabs the Scottish throne only to be wracked in later days with guilt and paranoia.

The version of Thiyam nevertheless has transported the dark tragedy of Shakespeare from its original Scottish medieval locale to an erstwhile Indian tribal setting bestoed with a hue of timelessness.

More noticeable adjuncts came in the form of a totem at the top of the flag, black coloured bamboo helmets, the large scythe of Macbeth, the flowing red woolen shawls, armoured vests in black colour, the drum roll, the brass gong, the lengthy bamboo scroll and the dance-like formations. They were aesthetical too.

The play was staged by Imphal based troupe, Chorus Repertory Theatre.