Some plays delight and some provoke but a few make the viewers think and one such is Gollapudi Maruthirao’s Go to Hell that drew a full house at Kalabharati Visakhapatnam. Artistes of Hyderabad based Chatla Sriramulu Theatre Trust staged it under the aegis of Rangasai, a theatre forum of AVVS Murthy popularly known as Badamgir Sai.
When genuine aspirations and simple hopes fail to translate into a decent and dignified life in society, it leads to corruption in values and ethics that surely spells doom to any meaningful purpose of society making life anarchic in its thought and living. Crash of values and ethics leave the wreckage of lives strewn across society and it makes no distinction in its toll. This translated to a thought-provoking drama in a well-knit theme in Go to Hell.
Set against the backdrop of an orthodox family of Sangameswara Sastry the narrative drove its point straight home, Sangameswara Sastry and his son Rama Sastry, represent high values and righteous living of old order and disillusioned and disgusted youth in contemporary corrupt and desecrated society respectively. Rama Sastry, a disgusted young man, leads a wretched life of a pander. Resentful and alienated by his failure to make it good in society and enraged at its rank hypocrisy, he lashes at society with volatile scorn. His rant ranges from his failed love to duplicity of so called respected ways of life in society. Unable to stand the ways of Rama Sastry, his father Sangameswara Sastry stabs him to death.
The play opened with Sangameswara Sastry wailing for his departed son. The poignant scene in dark shades is just a pointer to darker shades of life that gets unfolded in the rest of the scenes leaving the audience stunned. Quintessentially, a profound visual rendering of two generations, it vivified the conflict of life and its values between two generations and decadence in society in the process.
Though a Rama Sastry remains an uncommon sight, his existence cannot be ruled out in our society. Penned 35 summers back, the play was said to be ahead of its times and it remains the same even today. Rama Sastry’s dialogues with an aura of quotable quotes in finer shades of expression are reflective of Gollapudi’s in-depth exposure in diverse realms of literature. Though clothed in romantic shades of flowery language the seething discontent underlying the smooth expression was fierce in its appeal. That the playwright is well-versed in Western ways of theatre is evident in its treatment. In a way it reveals his compassion for the failed in society.
The sterling performance by renowned thespian Burra Subrahmanya Sastry in the portrayal of Sangameswara Sastry took it to further heights in its emotional appeal. Madhavi, Chetana,YS Krishneswararao, Anupavan. Lakshman and Mohammad Shafi were at their best. With every frame bearing a stamp of Chatla’s directorial acumen, it was a theatre buffs’ delight. Ravindra Tejaswi’s musical score was commendable.