Macbeth, a laugh riot

Revisiting Shakespeare

Shakespeare would probably laugh his head off in today’s age if he were to see Behroopiya Entertainers’ rendition of his classic play Macbeth as Madbeth.

Behroopiya, a relatively new arrival on the theatre scene of the city, has turned Shakespeare’s classic murder tragedy into a laugh riot that in fact challenges the traditional norms of a play. The casting crowd of soldiers and nobles is replaced by just one man Madbeth (yes, that’s what they call him!), Banquo is only an imaginary figure Madbeth keeps threatening, and King Duncan and Lady Macbeth are sourced from the audience! The sinister story is related in all sincerity but with a big dose of humour, songs and mime acts, leaving the spectator teary-eyed and holding on to his tummy.

First come the witches – three muppets with glowing eyes – who inform Madbeth that he is to be the next king of Scotland. The lieutenant goes hysterical with joy and ambitions. He routinely assumes different avatars, one of which is a dumb servant who delivers the happy message to Lady Madbeth. The lady, one from the audience, prods him to murder the king, which in turn leads to more fake murders and hilarity on the stage.    

Rupesh Tillu, founder-director of Behroopiya Entertainers and Madbeth in the play, says, “Macbeth has been performed by countless theatre troupes over the centuries but not in this form called Physical Comedy. Here the actor constantly interacts with the audience, choosing a few from them to act alongside, cracking jokes with them and sometimes even on them. The audience and the performer become mirror images of each other in such an act.”

“This kind of an innovation is possible only with plays like Macbeth, where the villain is the hero, who also garners sympathy from the audience as the story rolls out. As opposed to conventional stories of the ‘bad becoming good’, this is a story of the ‘good becoming bad.’ It also speaks volumes about a playwright like Shakespeare whose stories, though written over 500 years ago, can still be innovated upon. We are happy we are doing it,” he says.          

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