Theatre

Politics at play

The minimal sets did not distract from the powerful script.  

Set in Eos, a land rife with hardships, including scarcity of water and rumours of violence, conspiracy and repression, “Samara's Song”, produced and performed by Theatre Club, is a powerful play on politics that addresses a gamut of contemporary issues.

Above all, it explores the dangerous double face of politics and the biased and prejudiced recording of history. The politics of language, that further accentuates the difference between the powerful and the powerless, is interwoven within the narrative.

The names of the principle characters are of cities and towns in different parts of the world, such as Arrah, Mati, Samara, Ashti and so on, that are torn apart by the politics of the coloniser-colonised, State and Stateless and home and homeless.

Amidst treacherous court politics, the manipulation of bureaucrats and political leaders and a series of tragic events, the people desperately wait for a messiah who will rid them of their misery.

Meanwhile, three historians, one deaf, the other mute and the third blind, from an undetermined time and space arrive to chronicle the ‘important events' that unfurl in Eos.

The historians focus on recording court events while completely ignoring the “Kurubiri” speaking people. This turns out to be perilous as the people ultimately rise up in rebellion against a power-hungry government that ignores their hunger and poverty.

The playwright Poile Sengupta with stupendous ease combines these various issues in poetic language and riveting dialogue.

The conflict she creates in the play is not obvious. The play gently speaks to you, showing you that what is apparent is not necessarily the truth.

The director Ashish Sen has done an excellent job. Never once does the narrative flag, it cascades smoothly from one scene to the next. Vivek Madan is spectacular as the deaf historian. His excellent, emotive style is matched by a flawless dialogue delivery.

Amitha Madan's smooth movements are brilliant while as the blind historian, Raza Hussain plays his part to perfection.

Their performance was backed by an equally powerful talented supporting cast—Poile Sengupta, Lekha Naidu, Meghna Das, Vshwas Basavaraj, Ajit Bhide, Shyju Varkey, Bobbie H Kalra, Munira Sen and Veena Sajnani. Special mention must be made of the earnest performance of the “Crowd”.

The minimal sets were perfect as it did not distract from the powerful script. The lights by Pritham Kumar were beautiful.

The only weak point of the production was the video installation; it did little to further the narrative.

Team work is essential for any production to be successful and “Samara's Song” is a shining example of this. The passion and dedication of the cast and crew were evident throughout.

“Samara's Song” is a must watch for its excellent production, brilliant script and powerhouse performances. It will be performed at Ranga Shankara till December 19 at 7.30 p.m. Tickets are available at Ranga Shankara.

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Printable version | Dec 1, 2020 12:02:06 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/theatre/Politics-at-play/article15594088.ece

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