Those who consider traditional English theatre boring and Kathakali confusing may do a rethink after watching Macbeth Cholliyattom.

The cultural combination of Macbeth and Kathakali came alive at the Institute of English of the University of Kerala here on Thursday, as an edited version of Macbeth Cholliyattom was presented by the Kathakali exponent Ettumanoor P. Kannan.

The performance was held in connection with the ongoing International Conference on Global Diaspora Studies: Contents and Configurations, jointly organised by the UGC Area Study Centre for Canadian Studies, UGC-SAP, Institute of English.

In an interaction with the audience later, Kannan said he had chosen to take Shakespearean plays for the cultural translation because they were classic poetry and their translations lend themselves to Kathakali.

“This act represents the internal journey of Macbeth. Often, the choreography comes first and then the texts are selected based on choreography. Even the traditional costumes or make-up of Kathakali cannot be adapted to this as they have specific meaning and cultural connotations,” he said.

“This is so because the performance is not an adaptation. It is rather a combination of two different elements, in which both keep their individual identities. The performances can vary with each act when the actor sometimes go for a structural improvisation but the basic nature of both these elements remain the same,” Kannan said.