Art is the most aesthetic reflection of our emotions. Subtle thoughts that linger in the darkest corners of our subconscious are expressed through it. Our passion helps us nurture the lesser elegant pursuits of life. Theater is but a mere extension of reality, used as a form of entertainment under the banner of ‘fiction’.
The Gangubai Hanagal auditorium at MCPH has been witness to many such experiments with the stage, the most recent one being Madhu Rye’s ‘Tell Me the Name of a Flower’. The psychological thriller originally in Gujarati has been translated to English by Mr. Vijay Padaki. The play was directed by Mr. Abhimanyu Acharya, a final year student of MCPH. This play was one of his last ventures as a part of the MCPH Theatre Club, which he founded two years ago.
The play started as a satire and revolved around a fight between a workaholic husband, his melodramatic wife, their relatives, and the wife’s lover. This opening scene heralded an upcoming twist, far from the audience’s expectation. The theme of the play was in a stark contrast with societal patriarchy, with its emotionally fragile male characters and bold female characters.
A person that anticipated an elaborate play along the lines of a standard ‘psychological thriller’ might have been initially fooled by the petite characters and their comical deliveries. But a voice interrogating the witness in the second scene drastically changed the aura in the hall. The easy jazz changed to stern piano chords and marked the end of giggles and the invocation of a paradoxical change in the attitudes on stage. Most of the second segment remained a narration by the witnesses of the crime. A crime they legally denied having any role in, but subconsciously believed their actions were worthy of punishment.
The play next turned into a confession of self-declared antagonists. Confessions of their crimes against the companion they accused as the villain. Then came many questions that haunt relationships. How does one justify making oneself vulnerable by declaring dependency on a person’s love? Is withholding information from a lover under the pretext of their own protection justified? How long does infatuation take to turn toxic?
The deceptive world that the characters wove around themselves beautifully personified the idea of how, in this world of actors, seldom does our judgment rely upon facts. We build our own realities and endlessly nourish it as a divine inception. The concluding scene set in bright red stood as a testimony to the actions of all the characters. The dialogue delivery in this performance reflected the elaborate practice and the innate theatrical charm of the actors. Although the play came to an end, the air of wonder persisted.
“Illusion is a ubiquitous infection, an epidemic we claim to thrive in.”
-Written by Vinay Reddy