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A new beam, a scientist revisited

ROMESH CHANDER

Words and theories found a new meaning on Delhi stage recently.



PLAY TIME: A scene from the play "Einstein".

Chamanlal Memorial Society is the only one to award the contribution of outstanding artistes in stage lighting, stagecraft, make-up and costume designing.For the last decade along with the Awards Ceremony, it has been mounting a specially created theatrical presentation conceived and directed by R.K. Dhingra. This year's Awards Ceremony was followed by a presentation titled "Shabd" meaning words that are the common means of expression. No doubt humans also express through other means of expression like body language and sound, but Dhingra feels these are not enough. "If on the other hand words are delivered in different musical notes aided by body movement, the effect orally and visually could be different". To this, if one may add yet another element - the use of creative lighting, it gives a deep meaning to words.The presentation opens with Jhankar, a brief dance sequence by the eminent Kathak dancer Shovana Narayan. The director's use of gauze with a laser beam createsa beautiful three-dimensional effect.The next scene takes the audience to "Missing Planet".

For the first two minutes or so we see a changing shape of the Universe. The presentation has no story line as such but just independent sequences created through a lighting design that extends all over the auditorium.In "Intezar", we have Shovana Narayan sitting on a rocking chair and gazing in the night waiting for her lover. To project her mood she dances to different couplets, her emotions built through music and Dhingra's lighting design brings tears to the eyes.In "Na Hota To Khuda Hota" (if there was no other, God will still be there) Dhingra inspired by Ghalib's lines sung by Jagjit Singh creates a three-dimensional lighting effect on a gauze screen and two girls behind it enactGhalib's lines.

The next scene, "You and Me", a combination of song, modern dance and laser highlights the use of different techniques of modern lighting and with "Dhun", the last item, Dhingra underlines the use of lighting as an accompaniment just like music in a dance performance."Shabd", to one's mind is Dhingra's best creation so far and his lighting design beautifully interprets the meaning of Shabd, the word.

"Einstein", again

After more than 11 years, NSD Repertory Company has mounted Mohan Maharishi's path-breaking play "Einstein" referred to by E. Alkazi "as a significant contribution to world drama". It is for the first time in Indian theatre that a playwright had delved deep into the realm of science touching upon not only the scientific theory but also the personality of the scientist. The form and the structure that he has given to his work are indeed innovative.

There is no change in the script whatsoever or for that matter in the director's production design. What has changed is the entire cast and most of the audience. We meet Einstein in his old age, and his childhood. We meet him in his romantic moods, we see him frustrated and then arrogant in his success. We learn that he loved music and wrote romantic poems to his classmate Malleva and when the two begin to get on each other's nerves, Einstein wonders why there were no scientific laws in human relations!

Along with time the earlier cast has moved on and Maharishi now had to work with actors most of whom are yet to come up to the standard expected of NSD Repertory. Some of the roles were double cast. For instance, Sameep Singh was very uncomfortable as Einstein in his old age and we very much missed Zakir Husain in the same role in the earlier production. But Teekam Joshi as the young Einstein and Nidhi Misra as Einstein when he was a child lived their roles well. Another good performance came from Balvinder K. Sharma as Einstein's wife. The rest of the cast was much below the standard. Mohan Maharishi's script deserves the best of talent and believe me it is very much here and could perhaps be contracted on short term basis for this production to tour the country.

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