Proud and ambitious King Vikram is visited by the mysterious sorcerer, Shantil, who offers him the secret to world domination if Vikram will do him a favour. Vikram must retrieve a mischievous spirit, Vetal, who is hiding inside a corpse in the Burning Ground and bring him to Shantil. Oblivious to the challenges which await him, Vikram pulls down the corpse from a tree, hoists it onto his back, and begins the treacherous journey back to Shantil, fending off, all the while, the vengeful spirits of the numerous people he has executed. On the way, to distract the king from his task, the anarchic Vetal, assisted by his eager cohort of spirit-actors, begins to tell Vikram stories, which magically come to life around him. Vikram comes to realise that the terrors of the outlandish tales, each of which contains an apt and painful lesson for him, are nothing compared to the barren world of his own soul … and that in Vetal he has met his match.

Based on the delightful ancient Indian stories of Vetal and Vikram, The King and the Corpse! is a dynamic performance text which celebrates the art of storytelling and ensemble playing. It is an actor-driven theatrical tour-de-force which incorporates physical imagery, masks, music and dance, and is a must for students studying physical theatre, storytelling techniques in performance, or adapting ancient tales for the stage.

  • drama, fantasy, musical, physical
  • 0
  • 8 total
  • 4 female identifying, 4 male identifying
  • culturally and linguistically diverse
  • 18+
  • all ages, children, teen
  • Playlab


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Female | Unspecified | 3 to 5 minutes
Starts on page 42

EXTRACT: And I expect she lived to regret it. May I tell my tale now? I begin with a terrible description of the villain of the piece. Face like a monkey, legs like a stork,/Is this a man or the devil's own work?/ Throws dice upon the table, gives the girls another smack,/ Half-beast, half-man, it's an evil hunch-back.


Male | Unspecified | 3 to 5 minutes
Starts on page 75

EXTRACT: Aagh! Pain. Piercing. You flail and scream. The black talons of an eagle enclose your tail. You crane your neck until its glinting eyes meet yours. Black! Like glass. Intent on your death. The hermit has followed you into the air. He takes you higher and higher -



"Formerly known as The King and the Corpse, this work has evolved from the duo’s 1995 production which was originally adapted from ancient Hindu tales from India. The overall arc of the story is about a proud and arrogant King Vikram who makes a pact with the evil sorcerer, Shantil, to retrieve a corpse from a tree in the burial ground in return for power over the world."

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SKU: PL-139 Category:

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Weight 0.5 kg

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