Devised and directed by Roysten Abel, The Kitchen, an experiential piece, premieres in Bangalore next month

Following the visually stunning production of The Manganiyar Seduction, Roysten Abel’s next play The Kitchen promises to be “a toast to all your senses.” Its world premiere will be held in Bangalore next month.

The action of the play revolves around the ritual of cooking by a husband and wife, accompanied by the haunting music created by 12 Mizhavu drummers from Kerala.

“But there is no story,” says Roysten in a telephonic interview. “The play is an emotional journey, an experiential piece. Even if the actors speak, the audience won’t be able to hear them; they must experience the emotions evoked by the actors,” says Roysten who has worked with a range of subjects, from the interpretation of Shakespearean plays, to working with out-of-work street magicians, charmers, and jugglers.

Roysten has been working on The Kitchen for a number of months. The idea for this production can be traced to his visit to Jalaluddin Rumi’s tomb in Konya, Turkey.

Rumi’s kitchen had a lasting impression on his mind. “There was a cosmic feel to the place. Cooking happened at various levels there — from the actual cooking of food to cooking at a celestial level. There was a raised platform in his kitchen, where the dervishes joined him.” Roysten has visually re-created this impression in the sets. “There is a gigantic Mizhavu drum, which represents a huge cosmic vessel, which holds 12 Mizhavu drums. The mizhavu drum is made of copper, which resembles a cooking vessel. Mizhavu drummers perform in temples in Kerala. I have used Mizhavu drummers because it ties well with the idea of cooking.”

Though the plot is universal and not set in any place, it is somewhat Kerala-centric. “The couple prepare payasam. The audience will get to taste the payasam. Kerala has a tradition of serving payasam as prasadam in temples. This performance has a ritualistic feel to it as well.”

Roysten’s productions, from Othello in Black and White, and Flowers, to The Manganiyar Seduction, and A Hundred Snake Charmers, are unique in not just their production, but the merging of different forms in terms of stories and world views.

“I had visited Amsterdam some years ago; my experiences of that place were reflected in The Manganiyar Seduction. Similarly with The Kitchen, I had visited Rumi’s tomb a few years ago. Every experience touches me deep inside and comes out in a different way.”

Roysten takes his time in producing plays. “I do a piece of work only when I am ready to do it,” he concludes.

The Kitchen, presented by Can and Abel Theaters and Himalaya Drug Company, will be staged at Ranga Shankara from August 1 till August 4, 7.30 pm onwards. The actors are Vipin Bhardwaj and Savita Rani.

Tickets are priced at Rs. 200 and are available on bookmyshow.com. For telebooking call 9845602265.