Kunti-Karna is adapted from the texts of Rabindranath Tagore and Jean-Claude Carrière. It delves in Karna’s depth of his solitude, rather than his legendary generosity. The play travels through the pivotal episodes of Karna’s life, while exploring the narrative of his birth and death. Using minimalist set design and dialogue, the play relies on physical movement to express the internal endeavour of Karna.
In 2007, I had the opportunity to work with children from SOS village in Chennai, and together we created a version of Karna. This experience raised an essential question: apart from Karna’s exceptional nature, where lies the fundamental source of his tragedy?
I tried to address this question through the performance which is constructed like a Greek Tragedy-a play focused on a character destined to die, with scenes between two antagonists, a slow walk towards death and finally, death itself that is staged in an almost invisible manner.
It is not the excerpts of the text that give structure to the dramaturgy but rather the tension between the different spaces (the kalari space, the pool of water, the aerial fabric, Kunti’s moving platform, Mallakhambam, between the sombre light of the lamps and the invading darkness; between the respiration of the characters, the sounds of water and the rattle of arms in a silence that is absolute.