A clear conscience is a soft pillow. Our conscience can make our lives miserable, by reminding us of our mistakes. The still small voice does not rest until atonement has been made. In the case of some, atonement isn’t enough. The guilt feeling drives them to actively seek death, for this is the only way they can be released from the nagging of their conscience.
Gopi (Girish) is a man, whose past haunts him so much, that reparation for past mistakes isn’t enough for him. He wants to end the torment by seeking death at the hands of those he has wronged. In Prayatna’s play ‘Nadhimoolam’ (story, dialogue, direction K. Vivekshankar), Gopi’s conscience appears to be the protagonist. The play takes us through the events of Gopi’s past in the form of his agonising memories, with an unexpected twist in the tale.
Psychiatry, fanciful ideas like incidents from a previous birth intruding into the present and philosophy were all thrown in, resulting in a hodgepodge effect. Why did the psychiatrist (Prema Sadasivam) keep standing all the time, when she talked to Ashwin? Being seated would have been more natural.
The sets were simple, but tastefully done. Each half of the stage served as a different house, with the portion in the middle serving as the psychiatrist’s clinic. Lighting (Chetta Ravi) was very effective, especially in the jail scene and when Gopi’s meditative posture was highlighted.
Jothi (Harini Krishna) is not only magnanimous, but practical too, when she says she is not angry with Gopi. He is the only father she has known, and she feels harking back to the past serves no purpose. While one can appreciate her ability to move beyond the cobwebs of the past, one fails to see how she could take a shocking revelation about her past with no reaction at all. She just sits there placidly, listening to Gopi, as he tells her the truth.
Except for this, Harini - a newcomer to the stage, did well, as did Narender Kumar, also a debutant. Girish gave a fine performance, with his body language and modulation in dialogue delivery.
The play ran to two hours. This was too long a duration for Gopi’s conscience to have its say, and to seek a solution.