Sunday, November 01, 2009

Flowers @Rangashankara

Caught this play written by Girish Karnad at Rangashankara today, and quite liked it. Unlike the last play, which was more of a conventional comedy, this one is complex, and harder to comment on. 

Its a monologue by a priest. ( A good performance from Rajit Kapoor there ). As he tries to come to terms with his love for his god, his feelings for his wife, and his losing fight against the lust for a courtesan. Questions arise about the boundaries and parameters which govern our emotions/longings and places where they blend in. Questions about the norms, sometimes unsaid,  which have come to govern us as a society, and how superfluous and contradictory they can appear. 

The ending was a bit of a disappointment, although keeping the the complexity of the questions under debate, its not an easy job to script an ending I suppose. However, I would have preferred a less allegorical finale.

The lighting, and set design, looked perfect to me. Of course, I've seen maybe a handful of plays in my life, so don't have too much idea of how things are done normally. But the bare stage, with a sprinkling of flowers, the water laden vessel, and the flower covered shivling seemed apt. The mid air half lingam again, perched on which Rajit recites his story, was unusual, but effective. The subtle sounds of the night in the backdrop also helped to set the mood. Another concept new to me, was the fact that theatre can tingle another of our senses - smell. So the smell of camphor, again sets the tone of a perceived and associated "religiosity" so to speak. 

Overall a good experience, although I'd be curious to see what a different director/actor would make of the play. Here the journey is sombre, subdued, and the calm is sought to be broken by the content of his tale, it could even be enacted / set in a reverse order, or perhaps at a neutral venue. Lets see if anyone ever attempts it. 


Anantha said...

Though Flowers is staged many times in Ranga Shankara, I hvnt been able to catch this one up..

Tess said...

worth a watch I'd say, specially if you've seen other plays before.

But its certainly not for everyone, specially if you crave some action on the stage. Need to be prepared for the 80 odd minutes of monologue delivered in essentially the same sitting posture.

What carries it, however, is the well written monologue, Rajit's reasonably good performance, and the tone set by sound/sight/smell, which helps to engage you in the questions as well.

Anantha said...

I like monologues, as far as they keep me engaged throughout..

I had seen Kannada version of Bikhre Bimb which is a nice monologue, I had quite liked it.
Bikhre Bimb is quite a difficult play for the artist (in Kannada it is Arundhati Nag herself, in Hindi it is played by Arundhati Raja) to perform, because artist converses with her 'bimb' appearing on TV!!

Watch it, if not the script, the technique surely amazes one...

Ohh, btw, Bikhre Bimb is also written by Girish Karnad

Tess said...

yep had in fact planned to watch bikhre bimb the previous day, but somehow didn't work out. Will keep a look out for the next time! :)