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Macbeth (Mallik, 2019)

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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).

Image 1. Duncan (Agnidip Datta), the CEO of Dunsinane Corp.


Image 2. The “battle” at the start (Left – Banquo – Tunir Chatterjee, right – Macbeth – Purbayan Chatterjee)


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).

Image 3. The Witches Rap “Double, Double, Toil and Trouble” (From Left: Aishee Roy, Esha Basak, Shaoli Deb)


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).

Image 4. The Moving of Birman Woods to Dunsinane Hill (Malcolm played by Archik Guha)


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.

Image 5. Macduff (Armaan Chowdhury), a karate black-belt holder, performs kata


Image 6. The Drunken Porter, played by Sounak Datta


Image 7. The Sleepwalking Scene of Lady Macbeth (Srishti Bhowmick)


Image 8. The Banquet Scene


Image 9. Macbeth drinks to the health of Banquo. From Left: Angus (Debopam Das, Lady Macbeth, Macbeth, Lennox (Subhrajyoti Dutta Chowdhury), Ross (Ishan Roy)


Image 10. Macbeth with the Murderers. From Left: Murderer 1 (Doiboto Roy), Macbeth, Murderer 2 (Arijit Sarkar)


Image 11. The Director, Dr. Nilanko Mallik, with some of the cast


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


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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.



Macbeth : Full Video

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