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regular-article-logo Tuesday, 23 July 2024

A bold take

The play, Macbeth, a narrative of power, ambition and corruption, is universal in its insights into the human condition

Kathakali Jana Published 04.05.24, 08:06 AM
A moment from Out, Damned Spot by Sudip Chakraborty

A moment from Out, Damned Spot by Sudip Chakraborty

The encounter between Macbeth and Kathak in Sudip Chakraborty’s Out, Damned Spot, presented at the Kolkata Centre for Creativity recently, is a thrilling and a radical one. The young dancer-choreographer, Chakraborty, is a natural citizen of today’s eclectic world and carries off the difficult chemistry between the Shakespearean material and his practice with ease. His reimagining of Shakespeare’s bracing tragedy as a solo dance theatre piece is singularly unfettered by excesses in terms of stage decoration and physical expression. It is bold and intense, focusing on the murderous thane and his ruthlessly ambitious wife, playing out some of the atmospheric witch scenes and other key sequences from the work.

The play, Macbeth, a narrative of power, ambition and corruption, is universal in its insights into the human condition. Chakraborty’s interdisciplinary version, which interweaves dialogue and text in English, Hindi and Bengali along with shlokas in Sanskrit, reinforces the sense that political power-grabbing is a recurrent theme in history and is entirely independent of geographical boundaries and cultural contexts. In turning to one of Shake­speare’s most sinister tragedies, Chak­­raborty is able to plunge into a whirlpool of historical events, magical happenings, prophecies, murders, nightmares, conflicting psychological conditions, fractured overlays of neurotic excesses, guilt and retribution. He convincingly embodies all of the emotions.

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The stage is bare and the lighting minimal. Barring a few portraits hanging asymmetrically from strings, there is little in the space to distract from the action.
The choreography is sharp and enthralling. Chak­raborty uses bandishes and compositions of Kathak along with amad, gat nikaas and footwork, executed with an athletic elegance that speaks of the rigour of his training. Jaydeep Sinha’s music design is inspired, with Subhasish Sarkar’s low-key pakhawaj-playing providing a suspenseful background score for the murder of King Duncan.

The central message, that greed for power is treacherous, is delivered with considerable stren­gth. Sequences such as the one in which Lady Macbeth
tries to wash the blood stains of her twitching hands are memorable.

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