Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Theatre: Broken Images.

Director: Alyque Padamsee
Playwright: Girish Karnad

You know how they say that a book should never be judged by its cover? This would be another instance where what you see is something entirely different from what you walked in expecting. To put it succinctly, nothing you read about it will give you any idea of what the play actually is.With names like that of Mr. Padamsee, Mr. Karnad and Mrs. Shabana Azmi attached to it, one comes to expect brilliance. And the experience does not disappoint. However, it is all executed in a manner that can leave you either mildly confused, or pleasantly surprised.

Conceived as a psychological thriller, "Broken Images" is the story of Manjula Sharma- an unsuccessful Hindi writer who earns great fame, recognition, money and accolades by writing a best-seller novel in English. Having defended herself against public accusations of betraying her own language and identity, she is now haunted by her own "image". An awakened conscience perhaps? Or a Freudian alter ego. One is kept guessing till the very end. Mrs. Azmi being the only character, the play is essentially a one hour dialogue between her, and her own image on an LCD screen. With little or no room for improvisation, the timing had to be absolutely perfect. The elaborate portrayal of a multitude of emotions and delicate voice modulation had to come together like clockwork. And from beginning to end, it was flawlessly executed. The script makes several intriguing allusions along the way. With immense stress on intricacies embedded within the dialogue itself and minimal audio-visual clutter, this one does not seem to be made for the masses. Yet, there is much to be appreciated about exactly that fact.

Featured recently as part of the National School of Drama's Bharat Rang Mahotsav in Delhi, this would be one of the better cultural experiences I've had. Sadly, I could only make it to only one of the dozens of performances that were part of it. I suppose being able to meet the cast and crew backstage, does make up for it. All thanks to a certain friendly neighborhood scribe.


Niti said...

Theatre always evokes something one never knows existed. Try watching the plays by the various groups and not celebrity plays..it will be a different experience al together..

Especially the NSD core group plays or SRC repertory..

Haven't seent his particular play, but sounds interesting!

soin said...

padamsee??sometimes he is a bit too mad.lucky you people still have decent theatre. i miss the once vibrant tamizh stage.i search for it these days.free

Sherry Wasandi said...

@Niti: Thanks for the suggestion. I will definitely keep that in mind.

@soin: Mad is good. Very good. In my view of the world, at least.

Yes, Delhi does have a lot to justify it's repute as a cultural hub. Sadly, I hadn't made much use of that fact until fairly recently.