By Sunil Kumar

Long-time readers of my portal would know that I am an ascetic searching for meaning. Now maybe, the latter part was overdone; who is one these days or ever was? All the world’s a play, and all the men and women merely players. This Friday finds me in a session dedicated to the cross-pollination of ideas; in the organizer’s words. Some may construe this as high-fangled jargon, but I find it interesting; there is truly meaning to be found in the larger spectrum of life, if the world sometimes allows us freedom from the limitations of the outside world, its monotonous din; and its social pretense.

All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players; or shall we say actors. Neuroscience tells me that our synapses fire randomly, thoughts are born randomly, and we all look for peer group affection. English is truly a funny language, it seems to have permeated our brains to an extent that the world aspires to verbalize its thoughts, feelings and emotions in this rather obfuscatory tongue.

The other world(outside India) please note: English is our language, we have adopted it, some research even indicates that it evolved from the subcontinent. In any case it is a derivative of the Indo-European branch, an offshoot of Sanskrit. The play I am talking about is Ek Madhav Baug, written by the playwright Chetan Datar.

I respect the language of Marathi, part of the beautiful dialects of our great country, evolved from Prakrit. All of India has similar cultural characteristics, despite its numerous ills, social inequality, corruption et al, we are a shining example of intellectual power. Sixty-five years of defined nationhood, an idea verbalized, internalized and spoken.

0 Plays: Ek Madhav Baug

Back to the main theme of this post. Ek Madhav Baug describes the trials and tribulations of a 21-year old boy as described by his diary. The play is a monologue about a mother who has to cope with her son’s coming out. According to the producers, it was first performed in 1998. The act is intense, mainly because of the actors. One of the most contentious issues here is of homosexuality. Verbose discussions are a reflection of the level of interest, albeit momentarily.

Society is such a two-faced paradigm. A democratic country encourages people to participate in its institutions, engage in nation-building and alter our self-defined limitations. Probably, only in the narrow confines of blogs, television channels and other sources. The long-drawn dialectic of pretentious people aspiring to be decision-makers. What is the will to power? The hope of finding something new, bigger or merely doing all of this for nothing. There is also a play within the play; Chetan Datar disparages his own community, the invisible brotherhood of the pen, trying to partially negate the power of the creative writer. The next moment, he flips back in style, realizing his inherent power. (My interpretation: Writing is an art with tremendous power; our mythology and ideas are based on collective thoughts; millenia of different people).

The actor is merely giving his or her own interpretation, in a democratized world such as the web, we are free to add to the debate. Evolution is a relative idea. In fact, in my blog, I actively encourage it. But, please put in something different. The play is dated in a sense; with a few of its stereotypes; but the translators have sought to redress that with more contemporary ideas. Now, according to some play directors, nuanced responses or unfelt pseudo-intellectual babble is what they would want as a response to their vision of existence.

What truly is the role of theatre in our life? Is it meant to entertain us, give us a deeper insight or leave us grappling with the same existential problems we had before? The world of the stage is a mirage in a sense; a window to the soul, something lost immediately post a cup of tea or a packet of chips. Art and science; a strange combination, but everything is interrelated in a sense. Stereotypes are limiting, yet they are omnipresent. Another thought; many Indians are intelligent, but only the ones who’ve tasted fame are the toast of the moment, a shallow recognition that still makes an impact in our ten-minute noodle civilization. Anywhere.

I did not mean to diverge, but I am using this post to detail my other ideas; a round-about examination of ideas related to theatre; the world, life at large. The creative freedom of this small window. The son and self-acceptance; these issues may resonate with a few people. My point of view here is a democratic “let your space be” philosophy; unconsciously accepted by many within a second.

I’ve written about Ilham, Manav Kaul’s creation, something that I personally found a little more moving.(There are stories; and more in the ocean of life). I shall detail other interesting plays I’ve watched in this section, later. Broadway, the West end, et al . A few notable Indian ones are “Me, Kash and Cruise”, “The President is Coming” and “The Prophet”. More later. Watch the aglaia space.

300px Mumbai Skyline at Night Plays: Ek Madhav Baug

Visit English: Skyline of Mumbai from across Back Bay. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)



 Plays: Ek Madhav Baug
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