Lushin Dubey steals the show in Alyque Padamsee's "Macbeth".
At the ongoing National School of Drama's ninth theatre festival, Bharat Rang Mahotsav, thousands of theatregoers have seen a large body of plays in different languages from many countries and different Indian States offering a glimpse of Indian theatre by young experimenters and veterans who brought their latest work to the festival. One such presentation was by the veteran theatre director Alyque Padamsee who brought his latest presentation "Macbeth" produced by ACC productions, Mumbai.This is not the play as written by Shakespeare but is broadly based on it. So much so that even some of the sequences are changed and new elements brought in that are nearer home to the Indian audiences, as for instance, the element of Tantra. The introduction of the witches in the opening of the play is not only beautifully conceived but most effectively delivered. Our attention is immediately diverted to Lady Macbeth who it seems has taken on the role of a tantric leader of the group. The witches play a vital role in Padamsee's "Macbeth" and the three witches Kamla Singh, Gary Richards and Among Pant dramatically dressed wearing necklacesof skulls and drinking blood while dancing around along with their leader, Lady Macbeth (Lushin Dubey) set the mood, as it were, for what is to follow. It is the witches that have a vital role here, may it be the crowning of Macbeth and his wife after Duncan's murder of Lady Macbeth's sleep walking scene and finally around Macbeth's severed head. It is the witches and of course Lushin Dubey both as Lady Macbeth as also the leader of the witches that makes the play what it is, a kaya kalp of Shakespeare's "Macbeth".
Major roleIn Padamsee's production it is not just the witches who make the prophecy that Macbeth will be the king, but it is Lady Macbeth's well thought out plan in which the witches have a major role to play. In Padamsee's presentation - they drink blood, wear malas made of skulls, crown Macbeth and his wife after Duncan's murder, reappear after Lady Macbeth's sleepwalking scene and finally dance around Macbeth's severed head chanting "Fair is foul and foul is fair".Said Padamsee after the show, "Macbeth is like Shiva, who creates and also destroys everything in his path. Tantra believes in the composite forces of Shiva and Shakti. Shakti is the stronger of the two, but she becomes hollow if she gives too much energy. Having given away all her power to Macbeth, Lady Macbeth is empty after Duncan's murder".In Padamsee's presentation Lady Macbeth is like a Kali figure sympathetic yet terrifying.
Good performanceThe cast as a whole plays to split second timing but the play belongs to Lushin Dubey in Lady Macbeth's role. One has no hesitation in saying that she is today amongst the top three or four best actresses on the Indian stage.Padamsee's "Macbeth" like some of the presentations in the Dance Theatre section of the festival has become a serious topic of discussion. The opinion is sharply divided amongst the young and senior theatre directors as also the theatregoers. This indeed is a very healthy sign for the development of theatre in India.