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Shakespeare in Indian Languages


11th February Macbeth (Malayalam) at Kalakshetra, Rukmani Arangam, 7pm. 


Macbeth the lord who has been serving and fighting for the King murders his King incited by his wife Lady Macbeth. The play Macbeth depicts the mental turmoil of the protagonist who is doomed by his guilty consciousness. Its also argued that Shakespeare’s Macbeth is ultimately upholding the dynastic rule and its religious and political ideals. On one side Macbeth is facing his own conscience and on the other he confronts the socio-political and religious situations of his times. The play progresses through the monologues of Macbeth who is ripped apart by his guilty feeling. Lady Macbeth is also incapable of rescue him from his mental agony which proves to be fatal for him. The play progresses through the conspiracies of the characters, who are in between murder and suicide.  The production starts in the climax and will end with the same and it does not aim to narrate of the tragic tale of protagonist Macbeth. The root of the madness and abject thoughts that underlie in the play will be reconstructed with the help of all available possibilities of modern theatre. The usual gradual narration is discarded and the text for the production is evolved from the monologues of the characters.

 Director’s Note

If we put aside the socio-political perspective of Macbeth, we can see the deep observation on the chemical play of fundamental human nature of concerns, deep desires and greed that don the stage of conscious and sub conscious mind of human beings. I perceive Shakespeare’s Macbeth as a surreal poetry. Neither the gradual build up of the text nor, the narration of the story of the tragic hero is intended in this production. But on the other hand the fundamental concerns, deep desires and thoughts of human plight and existence discussed in the text will be addressed through the stage poetry with rituals in a modern sense and meaning. But it will be an artistic nightmare to see and experience the self within oneself.

 Jyothish M G has graduated in Theatre Arts (Direction) from School of Drama, University of Calicut in 1997 and holds Masters in Theatre Arts (Direction) from University of Pondichery in 1999. Working in Abhinaya since its inception in 1992, he has directed more than 20 play productions. His major directorial works include “Shadow of the Glenn”, “Zoo Story”, “Death Watch”, “Bhagavadajjukam”, “Macbeth”,  “Sidhartha”, “Sakharam Binder” , ‘Lesson’ and ‘Lady from the Sea’. Many of his directorial ventures have been presented at numerous festivals like Avignon Off Festival, France, Bharat Rang Mahotsav, Rang Swarn and Prithvi Theatre Festival. Apart from being the artistic director of Abhinaya, he also works as an instructor for a short term course on drama jointly conducted by Abhinaya and IGNOU, New Delhi. He also worked with eminent theatre practioners like  Maya Tangeberg (Finland), Abhilash Pillai (RADA & NSD) Prof. S Ramanujam,, D Reghoothaman, Niranjan Goswami, and Negro Jairo Vergara (Colombia).  The Dept. of Culture, Govt. of India recognized his contributions to theatre and bestowed him with the Junior Fellowship in the field of theatre for the year 2009-2011. He was also selected as the official invitee for the Edinburgh International Arts Festival 2009 by the British Council. He was awarded the prestigious Sankriti Award in the field of Theatre in 2009 by the Sankriti Prartishtan, New Delhi


12th February at Kalakshetra, Padma Pushkarini, 7 pm:

Koodiyattom is perhaps the earliest known form of enacting Sanskrit drama in Kerala and it is slightly different from other forms of dramatic representation known to have existed elsewhere.  Koodiyattom is the proto form of most of the art forms of Kerala.  It is said that it has a history of 2000 years.  Great dramas of  Bhasa, Kalidasa, Sakthibhadra Kulasehara, Neelaknda……etc. are taken for the performance of Koodiyattam.  One act of a play will take 12 to 41 days to complete as Koodiyattam.  ‘Chathurvidhabhinaya ( Four fold acting ) –Angika(Body movements) ,Vachika ( Verbal enactment ),Satvika (Manifestation of  internal feelings) , Aharya ( Extraneous ) – has main role in Koodiyattam.  Among that satvika is most important.  No other art forms in the world has such a detailed training of facial expression as  in Koodiyattom, where the actor or actress has to undergo vigorous training for eye moments. UNESCO has declared Koodiyattom  ‘the intangible heritage of Humanity in 2001.  Koodiyattom is one of the rare performing traditions which has connoisseurs in all over the world. 

Margi Madhu is a Koodiyattam maestro, and is one of the first artistes to be trained at the Margi Foundation based in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala. He learnt Koodiyattam at Margi under Padmashree Ammannur Madhava Chakiar and Moozhikulam Kochukuttan Chakkiar. He has performed at many national and international venues, including the prestigious Kennedy Center at Washington DC, USA (June 1977), for the International jury of UNESCO, and the ‘Fusion of Art Show’ in Singapore (in 1998).


Cast and Credits: 

Margi Madhu Actor
Dr. Indu.G.   Thalam
Kalamandalam Ratheesh Bhas Mizhavu (Drum)
Kalamandalam Anoop Mizhavu (Drum)
Kalamandalm Manikandan  Mizhavu (drum)
Kalanilaym Rajan  Edakka  (Drum)
Kalamandalam Satheesan Make-up


13th February at the Kalakshetra, Rukmini Arangam, 7 pm:


Crossings weaves together the elements of Indian classical dance forms alongside text-based drama to explore the aspects of Lady Macbeth. With references to figures from Indian mythology such as Putana and Shakti, this piece examines what it means to be feminine or de-feminised through the contradictions within this complex character.

Four performers represent facets of Lady Macbeth in constant conflict to create a fluid performance woven from four strands – a verbal text constructed from the dialogue of the original play, a movement text drawing from dance, a musical text created in response to both words and movement, and a symbolic text crafted from the imagery in Macbeth and the symbolism which imbues Indian classical dance.

First presented as a workshop production in April 2004 with the support of a Fellowship Grant from the Ministry of HRD, Government of India

Winner of 4 Awards at the first Mahindra Excellence in Theatre Awards, Delhi, February 2006

- Best Director for Vikram Iyengar

- Best Supporting Actress for Archana Ramaswamy

- Best Original Music for Nageen Tanvir

- Best Costume Design for Vikram Iyengar


Director’s Note

As a dancer deeply interested in theatre, Crossings was the first of my projects exploring the meeting of classical dance and text-based drama, in an attempt to create a seamless and evocative performance language.

Why Shakespeare? Poetry, lyricism, allegory, metaphor, repetition, imagery, rhythm, representation, symbolism all imbue both Shakespeare and classical dance. Both genres use strong and sensual images whether through a well-tuned phrase or a well-tuned movement.

Lady Macbeth is arguably Shakespeare’s most complex and layered female character. She has fascinated me ever since I studied Macbeth in school. She resurfaced a decade later when I watched a Schezuan Opera actress in a riveting solo rendition of the character. I asked, could one interpret Lady Macbeth through Indian classical dance? A mistaken notion is that classical dance must be beautiful: no, it must be beautifully performed. There is a great difference between prettiness and beauty. Dance—and indeed all performance—deals with the latter, not the former.

I chose performers who I felt would be able to contribute to this exploratory and collaborative project—dancers, musicians, actresses. We embarked on this remarkable journey in December 2003, with text, music, movement and design responding to each another in a myriad different ways, encountering parallels in Indian mythology and iconography, finding fresh possibilities in rendering both text and dance. The performance as it stands today has been distilled through several versions and several casts since the first workshop production in April 2004, and presents Lady Macbeth in all her magnificent complexity.

Cast and Credits

Concept, Design and Direction: Vikram Iyengar

Performers: Anubha Fatehpuria, Dana Roy,

Debashree Bhattacharya, Jayati Chakraborty

Original Music and Vocal: Nageen Tanvir

Percussion: Siddhartha Bhattacharyya

Lighting Design: Sudip Sanyal

Production: Amlan Chaudhuri / Shadab Kamal


Initiated into Kathak by Smt. Rani Karnaa in 1981, Vikram Iyengar is an A grade solo artist with Doordarshan, and registered with the Indian Council for Cultural Relations and the Eastern Zonal Cultural Centre. He has performed for several prestigious institutions including the Sangeet Natak Akademi and Kathak Kendra, Delhi; Prithvi Theatre Festival, Mumbai and National Centre for the Performing Arts, Mumbai. He has also travelled to USA, UK, Hong Kong, Moscow, Qatar, Bhutan and Italy.

He is a recipient of the Government of India National Scholarship and National Junior Fellowship for Dance and holds a Sangeet Prabhakar from Prayag Sangit Samiti, Allahabad. An INLAKS scholar with an MA in Performing Arts from the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, Vikram has also taught Asian and Intercultural Theatre at BA and MA levels in the UK. He has contributed articles to various Indian and foreign publications, presented papers at international seminars, conducted a variety of workshops and worked on several arts research projects for institutions in India and abroad. He is currently co-editor of e-Rang, a fortnightly email theatre journal from the India Theatre Forum.

Vikram’s production work has spanned choreography for stage and film, dance-theatre, and performance collaborations. He has worked with several experimental performance directors in Europe in spaces ranging from traditional theatres to abandoned tram depots, medieval castles and Edwardian manors. Co-founder of Ranan, Vikram is Artistic Director of the company.

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