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Stories that come to you

MERGING LINES Fact or fiction? Photo: Special Arrangement  

Good Hands/Godspeed, a pair of monologues staged at the Ranga Shankara by the Tadpole Repertory, opened doors to a real world with very real characters. Both the monologues were written by Neel Chaudhuri. Godspeed was awarded the Toto Funds the Arts Award for Creative Writing in 2009.

It wasn't easy to not be overwhelmed: Bikram Ghosh and Kriti Pant — armed with a powerful script, competent emotive skills and an easy intimate delivery style — drew the audience into two very different worlds; one that is extraordinary and the other of pain and loss. The connecting thread between the monologues was that of recollection and sharing, making it very different from the ‘classic' variety, that we commonly know. George Bernard Shaw once said: “No conflict, no drama.” Good Hands/Godspeed, however, addressed ‘conflict' in a very different way. There may have been a single actor recollecting incidents and events, but throughout, the other came alive, because of a highly evocative script. The stage is set in a manner so as to bridge the gap between the performer and the audience. Though there is no direct interaction between the actors and the viewer, at a more subconscious level, the “stories come to you”, in that you'll feel that the characters in the play are people who you know.

The play opens with a bespectacled and smiling Bikram Ghosh jauntily entering the stage — playing to perfection the kindly professor. He tells the stories of ordinary people who are quirky and interesting and ‘Giants' and ‘heroes', in their own way. He “bends down the biographies of people who were never famous” to look for “the extraordinary in the people who surround us”. The stories are “mostly fact with a bit of narrative glazing” that are humorous, thought-provoking and at times, also have a concealed tinge of melancholy. In “Godspeed”, the anonymous girl while cleaning out a room chances upon the music collection of the dead boy, with whom she shared a close relationship. Kriti gets so convincingly under the skin of this character that you actually wonder if it was a page out of real life. For anyone who has experienced loss of a loved one, the monologue strikes a chord. Weaved within the narrative are personal aspects of the actors. Bikram's love for comics and Kriti's love for music finds expression in the script. The play, even in its performance, never loses the understated texture of the text.

Both the monologues are punctuated by poignant moments that stay with you.


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Printable version | Sep 21, 2021 9:58:52 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/stories-that-come-to-you/article2308514.ece

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