Theatre

Making sense of ties

The theatrical production 3 tried to explore the relationship between a daughter and her parents in a modern setting

“3” is a theatrical production depicting the social and psychological discomfort of a broken nuclear family which consists of a husband, wife and a daughter. Written and directed by Sunayana Premchandar and produced by Kathasiyah, the play was recently performed at Attagalata.

Situated in an upper middle class urban context, the plot unfolds in two time-lines, first in the mangled present where the deserted mother – daughter duo are trying to make their ends meet through small time businesses and the second in the seemingly ideal past that led up to the present situation. The relationship between the daughter and the parents is starkly marked by modern confusions of a parent-child relationship. One can sense the distorted physical and moral boundaries of parental love and how three of them are unable to cope with the transformation these boundaries undergo as the daughter grows. These blurry boundaries are amplified in scenes where the father and the daughter are seen alone. For instance, in the scene where the father is helping his child change or when they stand by the flyover thinking about their lives, their touch remains intimate but ambiguous.

With the father’s return after seven years of deserting his family, the misery aggravates into a conflict where the three are stuck in a rut of offending and defending each other flippantly. How should they react to his return? Should he be rejected or accepted? Does he wield the same authority over them as he used to before he deserted them? Can he continue to tell his daughter what’s right and wrong?

The performance was crafted uniquely for a rectangular hall with seating on three sides breaking away from the conventional frontal perspective. The audience’s proximity to the stage and the setting, allows for a more-than-visual experience of the play. The setting, which is staggered across the space operates as more than a mere backdrop. The actors interact with the setting weaving them into the story. This play also makes an attempt to explicitly make movement a medium of expression. It briefly tinkers with the idea of touch and explores it through movement, especially in the context of the father-daughter relationship.

Though one gets to know that the family is in troubled waters, the play doesn’t facilitate the audience to help them comprehend the conflict. This makes it difficult to fully empathize with the characters. The story evades specificities but one could also interpret it as the nature of friction in a stale relationship where the reason for the friction remains obfuscated. The story begins on a troubled note and plateaus in the same zone. As an audience one gets to be in the family’s domestic space, hear the voices of the three members of the family but without truly understanding their experiences or getting their perspective of the problem. However, what the play accomplishes is to depict the confused dynamics of the familial relationships in the urban contemporary reality.

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Printable version | Feb 20, 2020 1:59:23 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/theatre/making-sense-of-ties/article19592966.ece

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