Theatre

True colours in darkness

Bhasker walks in to find his wife Leela distressed by the screams of women that occur everyday in the next building. Bhasker tries to calm her down, but Leela is convinced that there is something more sinister to these events. As they discuss the cause for these disturbing occurrences, Mohan, Bhasker’s friend, makes an entry.

The flamboyant Mohan, in a self-important manner, attempts an ‘analysis’ of the events in a discussion over drinks with Bhasker. While the conversation devolves from the inane to the ridiculous, it clearly reveals the patriarchal mindset regarding violence against women. This is the story of Manjula Padmanabhan’s Lights Out, which was staged by Tanariri Theatres at Ranga Shankara. The play is based on a real life incident in the 1980s of crime against women, which were regular occurrences in a neighbourhood in Mumbai. This is where people despite witnessing the event did nothing about it. Lights Out, directed by Pranav Patadiya, had the audience riveted to their seats. The action was taut and fast-paced.

The play never descended into insensitivity or melodrama. It got the audience thinking, on voyeurism and lack of empathy towards heinous crimes; on the attitude on the privileged with issues that don’t affect them directly. It gave an insight into society’s concern of an issue, but only when it came to offering a viewpoint, not when it came to taking action.

The cast and crew of Tanariri deeply engaged with the play. The performances by Neeraja Rajeev, Rashmi Ravishankar, Shakti, Shruti Havale, Shubhra, Suranjay Patil and Pranav were impactful. Even though the character Frieda, the maid, had no dialogues, and was relegated to the background, her performance was outstanding.

Special mention must be made of the sets, which were well-thought out. The stage management was neat and the direction by Pranav brought out the essence of the play quite effectively. In sum, Lights Out was a sincere attempt.


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Printable version | Jan 18, 2022 2:58:22 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/theatre/true-colours-in-darkness/article26406154.ece

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