(based on "The Tempest")
Design and Direction : Chandradasan
Light Design: Jayakumar
Art Direction: Sidharthan
Duration of the play: 220 mts.
Chathankattu is an adaptation
of William Shakespeare’s The Tempest and is an analysis of the
process of colonization. The story takes place in an oriental island,
which is fertile and has a musical atmosphere emanating from mysterious
sources. This island is inhibited by ‘subhuman tribal’s
having immense ability of performing magic.
The first colonizer Prospero
reaches this land with his daughter Miranda by fate, barely escaping
the conspiracy of his brother Antonio. He relieves Azhakan Chathan the
primitive ‘element’ of the island from a magic bondage and
converts ‘it’ to be his trust-worthy slave. The other creature
Karumadan Chathan, the prospective ruler of the island too has been
tamed by Prospero, with love, education and punishment.
The story takes a turn when
the enemies of Prospero pass by the island in a ship. Prospero applies
his magic and with the aid of Azhakan Chathan works out the fantasy
storm to punish the antagonists and settle a score as a prelude to form
‘a brave new world. Each of the westerner reaching the island
after the shipwreck has colonial instincts, which is highlighted in
this production. Antonio, Sebastian, Gonzalo, Stephano and even Trinculo
are dreaming of converting the island into a colony and are discussing
the means to sell the tribal subhuman’s of the island in a western
Before running to his homeland
Prospero breaks his magic wand into two. Each piece is taken by Karumadan
and Azhakan. The islanders are now destined to face a new but a sad
saga of freedom. However Trinculo the jester Stephano the drunkard stick
to the island, playing a significant role in the later fate of the island.
This production strives to comprehend the process of forming a colony,
the concepts of freedom and power and the inscrutable forces determining
the fate of an oriental land. The western impulses bordering on craft
have been sidelined, and the thrust is given to the emotions of the
native elements of the island. The episodes of the tragic Alonso and
his companions, the love sequences of Ferdinand and Miranda etc, are
thus treated as in a Comedia-del-Arte.
The production also aims at
a distanciation conforming to Indian theatre concepts where actors are
performers or demonstrators. The very design of this play in an Arena
is a complimentary factor.
The performance text of the
play constructed in local colour with multi-faceted masks, ethnic symbols,
tantric art, folk music, myths and believes, the stylized performance
language and the characteristics of a folk spectacles etc. are intended
to maintain an atmosphere of Indianness in this production. The production
is done as a part of a project financed by the Cultural Ministry, Govt.