Mandragola – Directed by Bikram Ghosh

Mandragola (1518)
Mandragola written by Niccolo Machiavelli is a comic satire.

(the story for those like me, who didn’t know it already)

The play takes place over the course of a day.  Callimaco, a young Florentine emigré has returned to the city lured by tales of the beauty of Lucrezia, the young and virtuous wife
of an elderly fool, Messer Nicia. Nicia desires a son and heir above all else, and
Callimaco, conspiring with a marriage broker Ligurio and Lucrezia’s confessor, Fra
Timoteo, masquerades as a doctor eager to help.
Together they convince Nicia to drug Lucrezia with mandrake, claiming it will increase
her fertility. However, they warn him, the mandrake will kill the first man to sleep with
her. Callimaco helpfully suggests that an unwitting fool be found for this purpose, and a
reluctant Lucrezia is convinced by her mother Sostrata and Fra Timoteo to comply with
her husband’s wishes. She allows a disguised Callimaco into her bed and, judging the
conspiracy to be divinely engineered, accepts him thereafter as her lover on a more
permanent basis.


My treatment:

I wanted to create a city-scape that would be light-weight, and visually massive. I chose to work with cheap corrugated sheets, and was experimenting with folds and cuts, when things changed a little in the production of it all. Knowing that change in plans in inevitable in this theatre world, I went ahead and drew on all the corrugated panels, and tried to create a perpective-less cityscape. The stages we were working with, were massive, and my idea to cover the stage with the corrugated sheets worked well. I’d created multiple entry points for the actors, achieved a height for the overall stage. But I still feel, that had I experimented with cutouts, and fold-outs, the overall feel would’ve been a little more animated and surreal.

Direction: Bikram Ghosh

Lights: Rahul Rai

Assistant director: Kriti Pant

Stage Design: Vaibhavi Kowshik

Photos by my phone camera, Yashas Chandra

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