It was 60 minutes of scintillating performance by Jayati Bhatia on an evening that featured two monologues. ‘Khatijabai of Karmali Terrace' portrayed the story of an orphan who grows up to be the matriarch of a powerful family in the post-Independence era. It was an emotional rollercoaster filled with humour, drama and a lot of exuberance. Jayati Bhatia's performance and dramatisation did all the justice to this very simple yet intense story. The best part about this was that it captured the larger picture of how a woman balances the various aspects of her life.
The monologue seemed to be interesting with brilliant timing and histrionics. It was a lively portrayal of a matriarchal family. The birthday party scene needs a special mention, so do the props and lighting. The script seemed to be moderate, at times it lacked the necessary comic feel.
S. Siddharth Samson
The setting for the show was perfect — it reminded us of a haveli. It was difficult to believe that there was only one person performing as Jayati Bhatia brought to life a host of activities and people. Her performance was entertaining and thought-provoking at the same time. We see her life move from an orphan to a daughter-in-law of a well-to-do family and then to the matriarch of the house and in the end, as the only occupant of Karmali Terrace. There was not one dull moment.
The lighting effects accentuated the artiste's mood, while the voice modulation brought the changes in her life.
Of an era gone by
Jayathi Bhat transformed the stage with her brilliant portrayal of the quintessential bahu, patni, and ma and the sets created the feel of a bygone era. The script added to the play's impact in many ways while the acting took the production to the next level. Jayathi's energy and exuberance was consistent throughout. In spite of occasional slips in dialogue delivery, this was one of the best monologues I've ever watched.
‘Khatijabai of Karmali Terrace' takes us through a woman's life from her childhood, loss of her parents, being passed around relatives, her marriage and her rise to being the family matriarch. The monologue surprised me with its powerful actor, the authenticity in which her voice changed while she was chewing paan and the quiver that entered it during old age. The actor painted some very vivid images including some of her reciting poetry as a child and her descriptions of house parties. Adapted to fit the Indian context, the original set in Singapore and called ‘Emily of Emerald Hill', the story seems to speak of human behaviour and its complexities that are common to most cultures and societies. The play was captivating for most of its length dipping slightly midway where it got repetitive and struggled to move forward. The lighting design was very effective. The play was worth watching for it managed to recreate an era we have only heard of.
The play had all the ingredients of a gripping theatre performance. Effective music and lighting supported the charming and simple set. The protagonist's diction was faultless and the script was loaded with “moments”. One only wishes the performance had been stretched a little longer with suitable pauses to give the audience time to savour the humour, poignancy and pathos of this delightful play.