Macbeth goes to Tamil Nadu
In order to learn about the local forms of theatre, National School of Drama (NSD) takes its second year students to a different region every year. In November, the students spent time in Tamil Nadu to understand the nuances of Therukoothu, a form of street theatre from the area. The result is Macbeth, A Shakespeare Koothu, a production born out of a 45 day workshop, that will be staged at NSD today.
"Shakespearean theatre is quite Indian in its themes and adaptable to local cultures. With this workshop, the students have gained complete knowledge about the local acting style. Our adaptation of Macbeth is an attempt to discover the Shakespearean context in India", said K.S. Rajendra, the director of the play.
The adaption includes a vibrant and vigorous form of acting, singing and dancing rituals, all of which are modeled on their experiences from the workshop. "Traditionally, the entire village would participate in the plays as a ritualistic offering and various themes were woven into the social fabric. Therukottu mostly includes epic performances of the Mahabharata and the Ramayana, mostly done on an outdoor stage," informed Rajendra.
The first public performance of the group happened in Chennai last year. "During our workshops we realised just how much Indian potential Shakespearean plays have," said Rajendra, who added that they chose to perform in Hindi, as it reaches a larger section of people.