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Taking on modern icons

This play, an adaptation of a short story by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, is more than a parody of modern life.



Depiciting the tragedy of modern life.

THEY HIT the city with an interpretation of life. The artistes of `Host-O-Theater,' based in Kozhikode, were relieved to find the audience in Thiruvananthapuram buy it with knowing smiles. The magic was over in 50 minutes and the members of the audience were nodding their heads as each point was driven home. No modern-day icons were spared as punches fell freely throughout the dramatic performance. Call the performance a parody of life and you miss it by a yard. There was more to it. Perhaps that was the reason why the director of the play, N.G. Roshan, banked upon `The trail of your blood in the snow,' a short story by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, to express what was in his mind.

"The story attracted us and we found it the right medium to convey our message," says I.G. Mini, president of `Host-O-Theatre' and wife of Roshan. "We are inevitably trapped in the virtual world created by the media. There is no salvation as we find to our horror that real love is dying under close scrutiny."

Three kalams

The story evolves on the centrestage and the audience saw three kalams or boxes in which three groups of artistes were performing independent stories. Initially, the evolving of the story in three different locations seemed tiring digressions.

Then it dawned upon the audience that they had to read the story of one box against the backdrop of other stories to get to the crux of the matter. Billy and Neena, the couple, fall in love in the first kalam. Simultaneously, we see a couple in the third box. They are devoted to their roots and religion and are away from the limelight.

The middle box was occupied by people playing cards. They live according to the whims and fancies of other people. They live as petty gossipmongers and then as television crew, driving home the point that both play the same note but in different pitches.

The storyline

Billy and Neena are travelling to a destination in their `belly-convertible car' as we are told by the television reporter. Neena's hand is bleeding and she is afraid that the blood dripping from her hand would leave a trail for others to follow. Billy, too immersed in driving (read work), is unaware of the tragedy that is happening in their life (read journey). Media persons weave in and out of their domestic squabbles, interpreting and interfering in their lives. Meanwhile, there is an outburst and death in the third box where traditional art forms are given flesh and blood in the form of Panan and Patti. Who cares? There are no interpretations, no meaningful search into the tragedy. "Because there is no glamour in such deaths. The media are interested only in sensational news," says Mini.

A play within the play begins at this point. Billy was asked to act out the role of a husband who was shocked at the death of his wife.

The innards of a play were thrown out as actors came out of their masks, giving a jolt to the audience who were engrossed in the story. Think.

That was the command. The performance of the artistes was brilliant save for some dialogues, which got lost in the big hall of Vyloppilly Samskriti Bhavan.

MANU REMAKANT
Photo: S. Mahinsha

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