Theatre

Parking space

Room for thought on urban migration and identity

Room for thought on urban migration and identity  

Manav Kaul’s Park, at one level, explores what constitutes home in the Bengaluru of today

The English version of Park, translated by Deepa Gahlot, written by award-winning playwright, actor and director Manav Kaul and directed by Nimi Ravindran, is being performed at Jagriti Theatre. Park was first performed in 2009 and looked at displacement and the trauma of humiliation. Three benches, three men, a squabble about the best seat, each man claims his right, and of course, there is not enough room for everyone. The play takes a light-hearted look at issues of space, ownership and territory that inevitably leads to questions of identity and belonging.

Nimi, co-founder of Sandbox Collective, had earlier directed Kaul’s Five Grains of Sugar, originally Shakkar ke Paanch Daane. In an email interview, Nimi writes: “I've been meaning to direct Park in English for a few years now but for some reason or the other it just wouldn't take off. This year we got lucky, Sandbox Collective was ready to produce a new play and I was more than happy to restart my stalled conversation with Manav. And, Park happened.”

About the three characters, Nimi elaborates: “We don't know much about who they are or what their stories are, except for the bits they share with us. The Park is a metaphor for our 'place' in this world and all three characters are a bit like some of us. One of them is a Government servant, another a school teacher and the last a law graduate. They just happen to meet at a Park.”

The actors are powerhouse performers -- Ashish D’Abreo, Deepak Subramanya and Jimmy Xavier. “The performances are a combination of realistic and absurd or fantastical. The play has a very realistic setting, a park where three men meet. But there are a few strange incidents that send the narrative on a roller coaster ride. We have a main story that is played out and a parallel narrative that is also the main story in parts.” On a deeper level the play looks at issues of urban migration, isolation and the idea of what constitutes home in the Bengaluru of today. “What is our relationship with our city, and how we negotiate our space and relationships is what the crux of the play is all about.”

The directorial process was “super fun” says Nimi. “I haven't directed since we started Sandbox Collective. I had started working on Park in June this year and we were thrilled to be invited to open our show in October at the Jagriti Season 2016. I had Bharavi, who I have worked with several times before, designing and operating lights for me and Medha Agrawal on sound. We opened a couple of days ago and have had a super response.”

Park will be staged on October 28 and October 29 at 8 p.m. and on October 30 at 3 p.m. and 6.30 p.m. Tickets vailable on www.bookmyshow.com and at the venue.

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Printable version | May 27, 2020 3:40:18 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/theatre/Parking-space/article15815064.ece

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