About This Clip
A modern adaptation of Macbeth by William Shakespeare was directed by Dr. Nilanko Mallik and performed by Shakespeare Youth Performances (SYP) in Kolkata, India on the 1st of June 2019, Saturday.
Macbeth has been set to modern context in a lot of productions, but such a trend has not caught up in India, where productions are generally Jacobean time adaptations in regional languages, or are set to modern times, but in other languages. Performances in English generally retain the flavour of the Shakespearean times.
Shakespeare Youth Performances (SYP) has been performing in Kolkata from its inception in 2016 with the aim to make the works of Shakespeare more popular among the youth by relating to present-day contexts. For the purpose of achieving “Shakespearean flavour”, the lines of the Bard are retained, and changes are made only where necessary. So, the audience gets to feel the power of the mighty lines of Shakespeare and relate them to modern situations.
SYP’s adaptation takes the plot of fight for kingship to fight for becoming the CEO of an MNC – Dunsinane Corp. Inverness, Cawdor, Fife, even Birnam – are all branches of this great MNC, whose CEO is Duncan, murdered by his cousin Macbeth.
The production made this clear to the audience by displaying newspaper headings using projector (Images 1 and 2).
In this production, the witches appealed to the audience through their charming music. Although they retain some of their mysterious elements, they were presented as a band of three sisters – who run their own catering service for a living – and take to music as their passion. The famous enchantment of the witches in the cauldron scene (Act IV, Scene I) was rendered to highly grooving, foot-tapping rap song, sung with the aid of a guitar (Image 3).
A difficulty of adapting Macbeth in the modern context while retaining the lines is displaying the moving of the woods, which is the equivocal fulfilment of the third apparition’s prophesy. SYP appealed to the youth by displaying this as a twitter post, where Malcolm takes over the rightful ownership of “Birman Wood Industries” (Image 4).
Another difficulty lies in showing the three apparitions. This was solved using colour changing “magic mugs” as they are called. Macbeth is seen to drink hot liquid from this mug, which turns from black to display the three apparitions. In a drugged state, he hears the muffled words of the witches, who speak the second set of prophesies.
Macduff, keeping time with the present context, is a shodan – a black belt holder in karate (Image 5). He displays his skills many a times before the final encounter with Macbeth, and in a gripping fight, the usurper CEO Macbeth loses to Macduff, and Malcolm takes over his father’s place.
The role of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth were played by Purbayan Chatterjee and Srishti Bhowmick, who thrilled the audience with their acting skills.
Here are some of the images of the play.
Full Cast and Crew Information
DUNCAN, CEO of Dunsinane Corp. – Agnidip Datta
MALCOLM, son of Duncan – Archik Guha
MACBETH, cousin to Duncan and Manager of Inverness branch, and later, Cawdor – Purbayan Chatterjee
BANQUO, Manager of a branch – Tunir Chatterjee
MACDUFF, Manager of a branch – Armaan Chowdhury
ROSS, Manager of a branch – Ishan Roy
LENNOX, ANGUS – Other Managing Heads – Subhrajyoti Dutta Chowdhury, Debopam Das
FLEANCE, Son of Banquo – Anik Dutta
PORTER/SEYTON, butler of Macbeth – Sounak Datta
LADY MACBETH – Srishti Bhowmick
THREE ATTENDANT SISTERS – Esha Basak, Aishee Roy, Shaoli Deb
2 MURDERERS – Doiboto Roy, Arijit Sarkar
Sound: Arijit Sarkar and Tunir Chatterjee
Projection: Arijit Sarkar
Auditorium and Gate: Srijeet Sarkar, Swagato Kabiraj
Videography: Rahul Rajak, Anubrata Misra
Photography: Anik Saha
Link to YouTube Video: https://youtu.be/VOync07Ry3o
Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/sypkolkata
Extracts from 7th Symphony, 2nd Movt. (Allegretto) – composed by Beethoven. © Public domain
Extract from Toccata and Fugue in D Minor – composed by Bach. © Public domain
Apprehensive at Best – Free music. © Public domain
Apocalypse – Free Music. © Public domain
Hesitant Decisions – Composed by and © Nilanko Mallik, 2019
Don’t Look Inside – Free Music. © Public Domain
Fight beats – arrangement by Nilanko Mallik
Don’t Fight the Darkness – Free Music, edited and Mixed by Nilanko Mallik © Public Domain.
Nocturne no. 20 in C Sharp Minor – composed by Chopin, © Public Domain
Reception – Free Music, edited and mixed by Nilanko Mallik © Public Domain
Nocturne no. 2 – composed by Chopin, © Public Domain
Etude no. 12 – composed by Chopin, © Public Domain
Witching Hour – composed and performed by Arijit Sarkar, arrangement by Nilanko Mallik © Arijit Sarkar, 2019
‘Double, Double, Toil and Trouble’ words by William Shakespeare, music by and © Nilanko Mallik, 2019
The Smell of Blood Still – composed by and © Nilanko Mallik, 2019
Extract from Piano Concerto No. 5 – Adagio un poco mosso – composed by Beethoven © Public Domain
Extract from Sonata no. 14 in C Sharp Minor, Quasi una fantasia, “Moonlight Sonata”, 3rd Movt. (Presto Agitato) – composed by Beethoven © Public Domain
Canon in D – Pachelbel © Public Domain
Special thanks to Dr. Nilanko Mallik, the founder-director of Shakespeare Youth Performances, for providing details and photos for the 2019 SYP production of Macbeth.
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- Macbeth, herói bandido (Macbeth, the Bandit-Hero) (Fagundes, Patricia; 2004)
- Macbeth/İki Kişilik Kâbus (Macbeth/A Nightmare for Two) (Aydın, Elif; 2016)