Kathakali King Lear, presented at London's Globe Theatre in 1999, is a case study in the possibilities and difficulties of intercultural theatre practice. This article uses Bharucha's and Pavis's theories on intercultural theatre to frame its analysis and shows how this production, by a multinational troupe collaborating over ten years, crafted a work that crosses Indian and European cultural borders. Text adaptation, character type assignment, casting, resistance by Indian critics, and refinement of earlier versions are detailed. The ultimate success came as this classical text of Western theatre fused with the physicalization of emotion by kathakali masters. The production illuminated both the Western text and kathakali technique in ways that allowed spectators and performers to experience Lear and kathakali anew, offering a positive model for further intercultural work.
Asian Theatre Journal – University of Hawai'I Press
Published: Feb 15, 2005