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Mumbai’s Rupesh Tillu returns to Bengaluru with his solo production, Madbeth, a hilarious version of William Shakespeare’s tragedy Macbeth. This time around, he will be delivering six shows between August 26 and 30, across different venues in the city. The actor, ‘who likes to create his own work’, tells us about his comic caper, its beginnings in Sweden, the Shakespearean inspiration and more about the method to this madness.
More about Madbeth.
The play is about a schizophrenic man named Beth. His doctor prescribes that he act out Macbeth to cope with the death of his girlfriend and dog. Apparently it is because, as absurd as it sounds, only poison can kill poison. It is loosely adapted from the original though my version is essentially a character-based physical comedy.
Why did you pick a tragedy?
I’ve always felt that tragedy is timing plus comedy. Remember when you were beaten as a kid? It was a traumatic experience. But when you grow up and tell the tale again, you laugh about it. And Macbeth happens to be the greatest of tragedies. It has no hero, but a villain we end up empathising with.

What inspired this act?
I made Madbeth when I was studying Physical Comedy at the The National School of Dramatic Arts, Sweden, in 2010. I had asked myself, “What is it that a theatre can offer its audience?” The answer was an interaction with audiences. I needed something great to experiment with. What better than Macbeth?

Elaborate on the ‘experiment’.
During the play, I randomly pick an audience member to become the King of Scotland. We end up performing together like a symphony. My performance depends on their inputs. That’s why no two reruns of Madbeth are ever the same. This technique is called Here and Now. It means that an actor should be accessible to its audience, in that moment. This is what sets theatre apart from films, TV, and even YouTube.

In the pipeline.
I am going to Nepal with my project, Clown Without Borders. Then I will return for a six-city tour, called Enflightenment involving mime, magic and music. I am also working on a solo piece with the Prakriti Foundation. Next year, I will adapt another of Shakespeare’s classics — Hamlet.
Tickets (`300) on bookmyshow.com
—Barkha Kumari

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