Parnab Mukherjee gave the city audience a glimpse of what alternative theatre is all about.
The monologue presented and directed by Parnab Mukherjee was a dramatic reflection on the silence in this polarised world. From Irom Sharmila’s fast, to Bhopal tragedy, to the barbaric treatment meted out to people in the Northeast and the cruelty in Iraq, the multitude of social struggle in his verbal solo performance was forceful and presented well.
Presented at Our Sacred Space, the show was aided with some good audio visual presentation and minimum props in a small space with one small bulb glowing.
The presentation was indeed quite abstract. Wearing a black kurta and pyjama, Parnab sat amongst the audience to narrate the story of a dealer and a client which was one sided. With a gamut of expressions and few props strewn all over the small space he used each prop to portray the feelings coinciding with the visuals.
In a simple performance the layers behind the two characters — the dealer and the client — convey deep issues that pervade market forces. It is not simple.
The dealer becomes an overshadowing, menacing character and the client becomes a silent spectator. The time of day or place is shown as a metro railway station when both miss the last train and wait for the next train the next morning. To start a conversation the dealer starts talking to the client, but the sinister dealer is verbose in his trail of words.
And it is in this narrative style that that he uses numerous examples of political and social strife and struggle in the dynamics of the two characters — dealer and client.
The dealer successfully defeats the client mentally and monetarily, the relationship as we learn, is not two-sided, but deeply one-sided. And that the bought silence that social resistances have seen through the recent ages and around the world is a clever ploy seen from a simple business proposition.
An independent media analyst and a performance consultant by profession, Parnab Mukherjee is one of the leading alternative theatre directors of the country. He directed many productions that include international collaborations.
He has also performed full length solos which include an acclaimed series of plays on trafficking, HIV and segregation called the River series, Living Text series and Foothills to Hills, a series of plays with Darjeeling as the living inspiration.
Parnab has created a personal idiom of using spaces for theatre exploration.