Theatre

A heartbreaking narrative

Healing touch: Sohaila Kapur gives a powerful performance of a single mother   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

One of the oldest theatre groups of the Capital with uninterrupted continuity of producing artistically brilliant and socially relevant plays, Yatrik has the tradition of staging plays under the direction of stalwarts as well as young aspiring talents. Among these young talents are Prakash Bhatia, Irpinder Puri and Sonali Sharma. Yatrik nurtured them to grow into sensitive and imaginative theatre practitioners. Like “Mother, Like Daughter”, which was staged at Alliance Francaise recently as part of the Delhi International Arts Festival, is a case in point. The play is written and directed by Sonali Sharma whose debut directorial work was “Mricchatika” (Clay-Cart) by Shudraka for Yatrik. As a playwright, “Like Mother, Like Daughter” is her first attempt and second venture as the director. On both these accounts, she has manifested flair for theatrical craft.

Contrasting lifestyles

Like “Mother, Like Daughter” is a heartbreaking narrative of a single mother who makes brave attempt to forget her agonised and humiliating conjugal life.

She wears a mask. In this new avatar, she loves her vodka and in an intoxicated state she dances like a young girl to the tune of Bollywood songs. She does not care to keep her room neat and tidy. In a way she lives on her own terms, free from social taboos and conventionality. In contrast, her young daughter has a serious temperament.

She is young and unmarried. She is critical of her mother’s style of living. When she returns home after working hard at office, she finds her mother lying on the sofa, her pillow in a crumpled state, drawing room in a mess. It all makes her tired daughter angry. Calling her mother a social butterfly, she says, “I feel embarrassed to call you my mother.”

A third character enters the scene who is the friend of her daughter. She is a doctor by profession and tries to understand the strange behaviour of the lonely mother, deserted by her husband after the birth of the daughter. The doctor friend tries to persuade the daughter not to be harsh on her mother. She discloses to her friend that her mother is showing early sign of Alzheimer’s diseases. She advises the daughter not to take too much of a stress and try to lead a cheerful life, warning her if she continues to be aloof, she will land up leading a life of a spinster.

Climactic point

The conflict between the daughter and the single mother deepens when the mother refuses to divulge any information about her father. The hostility between them reaches to a climactic point when the mother tells her daughter the secret about her marital life that she has kept to herself for so long. In a subtle way, she discloses that her husband was a gay who decided to stay with his partner and willed his property on his name.

The house in which mother and daughter are living has been given to them by daughter’s maternal grandmother. This bitter revelation finally brings mother and daughter close. The play is set in the drawing room in an urban milieu. The action unfolds smoothly with a slow tempo.

The dialogues reflect the day-to-day conversation between the members of upper middle class section of society. The theme is expressed in undertones, free from intellectual fogginess. The play ends with a lullaby type song with deep yearning to go beyond the moon on a planet where happiness and serenity prevail. It is rendered in a mellow, slow tune blending sad and cheerful notes.

Sohaila Kapur, a seasoned actor and director, brings to the fore various facets of the agonised world of single mother with telling effect. Arti Nayar’s doctor friend of the daughter is sincere to help out her friend from her melancholic suffering and is instrumental in establishing a bond between the mother and daughter. Sonali Sharma as the daughter of the single mother truly lives her character’s turbulent emotional world.


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Printable version | Jun 17, 2021 4:14:08 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/theatre/a-heartbreaking-narrative/article25732911.ece

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