King Lear redux as Kathakali

Updated: Dec 09, 2018, 11:22 IST | Hansy Sanctis | Mumbai

Shakespeare's play, to be held at the Royal Opera House this week, is an intercultural performance, bringing a choreography of intricate drama form and design. The play was performed only once in India in 1989

Kathakali King Lear, directed by Annete Leday and Davi McRuwie is an inter-cultural piece, which was premiered first in 1989 and is on its way to complete its 30th year in Paris next year. Ringing in Mumbai this December, the performance is going to be held at the Royal Opera House.

Annete Leday says, "The play was performed only once in India in 1989. But there were some 70 or 80 performances around the world over the next 10 years, including the Edinburgh Festival, culminating in a two-week season at Shakespeare's Globe Theatre in London in 1999." A unique style of performance started long back, intricacies of Kathak have been woven into the narrative of the Shakespearan drama.

Pesappilli Rajeev, who plays King Lear in the play, says, "Initially, we worried mostly about the more conservative part of the field. But they were conquered." Since its inception, the play and it's form have evolved. But this time, it is the revival of the very first, original piece.

In addition to this, the choice of venue has a lot to do with the mood of the play. Being India's surviving Opera House, it is apt as its historical heritage is matching to that of the play. Leday adds, "We had a wonderful reaction from the English press. They knew very little about Kathakali, but were impressed by its power and saw that it was a natural fit to 'King Lear' which is the most powerful of Shakespeare's plays."

When: December 13, 6.30pm onwards
Where: Royal Opera House, Mama Paramanand Marg, Girgaon
Entry: Rs 300 to Rs 800

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