Puducherry

The many languages of theatre

: A scene from the Bhaskara Pattearum Thommiyudey Jeeviyhavum on the occasion of the Bharat Rang Mahotsav's Parallel Theatre Festival organised by National School of Drama, in the Adishakti Theatre at Auroville. Photo: T. Singaravelou
A scene from the play directed by Suveeran. T. Singaravelou

: A scene from the Bhaskara Pattearum Thommiyudey Jeeviyhavum on the occasion of the Bharat Rang Mahotsav's Parallel Theatre Festival organised by National School of Drama, in the Adishakti Theatre at Auroville. Photo: T. Singaravelou A scene from the play directed by Suveeran. T. Singaravelou   | Photo Credit: T. Singaravelou

The play Bhaskara Pattelarum Thommiyude Jeevithavum, a ‘jolting experience’: actor Nasser

The stage adaptation of Malayalam author Paul Zacharia’s novella, Bhaskara Pattelarum Ente Jeevithavum, an unsettling examination of the master-slave power dynamic set the tone for the 21st Bharat Rang Mahotsav parallel theatre festival hosted by the National School of Drama at Adishakti.

‘Bhaskara Pattelarum Thommiyude Jeevithavum’, the opening act of the week-long festival, was directed by Suveeran and performed by Kozhikode-based Back Stage. The play is based on Thommy, a Christian migrant labourer from Kerala, who becomes an obedient slave of his aggressive, tyrannical landlord Bhaskara Pattelar.

There is apparently no limit to Thommy’s loyalty and servitude to his master, even if it is to make his own wife sexually submit to his master.

Whenever Thommy is torn about owning up to the fact that his master is a ruthless fiend, he seeks self-justification in how his own life improved on the basis of servitude, to remain as loyal as ever. Even though he has regard for Pattelar’s wife Saroja, he eventually helps his master kill her on a pact that he would testify that the shot was fired by mistake.

When the consequences of his misdeeds catch up with Pattelar, master and slave flee into the jungles. As the power structures that once dictated their relationship disintegrate during the journey, Pattelar sees Thommy as an ally more and more, eating from the same leaf, even calling him by name.

In the closing scene where avengers shoot down Pattelar, Thommy breaks down... but even in that moment of freedom from tyranny, he is repentant of how he once betrayed his master.

Actor M. Nasser, who was theguest of honour, remarked that the play was a “jolting experience”.

“I initially tried to track the little Malayalam words I knew, but soon gave up and just surrendered to the show. Theatre is beyond language,” he said as he felicitated the ensemble cast.

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Printable version | Feb 25, 2020 4:42:03 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/puducherry/the-many-languages-of-theatre/article30814422.ece

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