Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Failed craftsmanship

Date:19/04/2007 URL: http://www.thehindu.com/thehindu/mp/2007/04/19/stories/2007041901630400.htm

The play Five, put together by workshop participants, disappointed at multiple levels

DISPARATE ELEMENTS There were five stories in the play involving people from different walks of life

Join the Dot's recent performance of "Five" raises critical questions about the notion of performance, workshop productions and feedback. The play was put together by participants of previous workshops conducted by the group. The actors together created the scripts and rehearsed over four weekends to put up the Sunday afternoon performance for a full house at CFD's Nani Arena. Also, this was the first-performance opportunity for most actors on stage.

The name of the play, "Five", corresponds with the number of stories in the play. Is there a connecting theme between the stories? No. The stories are disparate and are of people from all walks of life. The narrator (Rahul George) introduces each of these stories, as the actors set the stage for the other scene. The five stories are somewhat like this — the first story "Love Lost" introduces the story of Andrew, a wildlife photographer and his love for Enzima, a tribal girl in a matriarchal tribal land, who chooses to stay with her tribal group called Mundugamo. Andrew leaves the tribal lands and becomes a writer. The second story, "Khel Khel Mein" tells the story of two brothers, similar to Cane and Able. The third story, documents the story of two MBA graduates trying to impact changes in their village, the fourth, beginning with a poem, tells the story of a physically challenged adult who begins to look at life differently and the fifth is the story of life situations and changes ina family of three.

All the stories are constructed by the participants themselves and there is no doubt of the singular potential of the actors, but the collection of plays failed in execution and disappointed on many fronts. The only story that stood out in content and performance was "Khel Khel Main". Both the actors playing the modern Cane and Able were powerful in their performances. Content wise, there were many glitches, for example, the wildlife adventurer in the first piece aims at a bird with a gun and shoots it to impress the woman he loves. The loosely weaved script and dramatic depiction threw up serious questions. It was disturbing to see villagers being depicted as a group of bhang smoking individuals, or the clich├ęd depiction of tribal people. Rahul George's performance as the narrator was clumsy. The performance was subsumed by a kind of humour that elicits immediate laughter from the audience, and dangerously tips actors into a trap of repeating the same till the very end of the sequence. The play, directed by Join the Dots team members Mahesh and Meenakshi, needs a lot of work, if it has to go in for repeat performances.


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