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 â€¦ 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.
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