Wuthering Heights

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Wuthering Heights

‘Out on the winding, windy moors,’ sang Kate Bush in her 1978 homage to Emily Brontë’s romantic classic, Wuthering Heights. Those lyrics may need a re-think now that British Asian theatre company Tamasha has got its hands on the novel.

Gone are the windswept Yorkshire fields, replaced instead by the scorched deserts of Rajasthan, the largest state in India, while the tumultuous relationship between Cathy and Heathcliff is played out by Shakuntala, the headstrong daughter of a merchant and Krishan, the wild street urchin her father adopts.

‘The main thing was to choose a landscape just as epic and harsh as the Yorkshire moors,’ says director, Kristine Landon-Smith. ‘And Rajasthan is perfect. Where you’ve got wind and rain in Yorkshire, you’ve got heat and dryness in the desert – it’s man against the elements. In the novel, Heathcliff and Cathy run out into a thunder storm – here Shakuntala and Krishan run into a sand storm. Great theatrical possibilities were presented to us by that landscape, and it’s worked well.’

Tamasha has won widespread acclaim for productions such as Strictly Dandia and East is East, but Brontë does Bollywood is a whole different ball game. Landon-Smith is confident that even literary purists will be won over. ‘You can absolutely recognise all those classic scenes from the book,’ she says. ‘And Bollywood has huge themes of love, death, destiny, unrequited love, good and evil, just like Wuthering Heights – so we thought it made sense to marry them together.’

Citizens’ Theatre, Glasgow, Tue 21–Sat 25 Apr

Wuthering Heights

Emily Bronte's Yorkshire melodrama gets a contemporary revamp and a shift in setting to the scorched desert landscape of Rajasthan in this new, large scale touring production from leading British Asian company Tamasha, creator of the groundbreaking 'East is East'.

Comments

1. UK Anonymous12 Aug 2009, 7:40pm1 star Wuthering Heights Report

I don't understand why Tamasha Theatre company even gets funded!?? The only reason they get a chance to put on such ridiculous pieces of work and adaptations of classical writing, is because the Arts Council sponsors them. Being one of the 3 main Asian theatre companies in the UK, I presume it inevitablly puts a "tick" in their "Ethnic" box!

When will an established organisation like the Arts Council begin to understand that its not "equality" they should be focusing and spending their money on, but "QUALITY"!!!

The sooner Arts Council wake up and "smell the coffee"...the better and more worthwhile it will be for every theatre goer who spends "hard earned cash" to watch decent shows.

In a Guardian article I read this paragraph which is so apt for this company - "Two thoughts ran immediately through my mind. First: "Not another western classic sprinkled with a little bit of garam masala?" The second thought struck me in the pit of my stomach: "Is this it? Are British Asian stories dead?"

In another review it said the meaning of Tamasha is to cause a "Commotion"...I think they truly live up to that name as the only "Commotion" they stir in you is "Frustration"!!

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