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Frustration unfounded

ELIZABETH ROY

THEATRE Evam's latest production, Indrajit, deals with the angst of the youth of the 1960s.



BRILLIANT PERFORMANCES: In typical Evam style. Photo: M. Karunakaran.

`Evam Indrajit' is a projection of the attitudes, fears and frustrations of the educated urban middle class of the 1960s. The sombre existentialism draws attention to the crisis of the individual. It is pessimistic and holds out little hope for those who value ideas, dreams and poetry.

The play asks questions to which there are no answers. Is the individual redundant? Is everyone only a copy of a copy? Should we conform? What is our reality? What is our truth? Badal Sircar puts a playwright in conversation with his audience. Together we look at the uneventful life of Amal, Vimal and Kamal. Indrajit alone puts up a feeble fight before he too conforms.

Presented by Evam, the play went on the boards at Sivagami Pethachi Auditorium. The group freed the script to the extent possible from the trappings of the 1960s by rewriting the lines in a more familiar lingo. That was a nice touch. The production, in Evam style was meticulously executed with an eye for detail and had two brilliant performances from Sunil as the writer and Asim Sharma as Indrajit.

Iswar, Vidyuth and Vivek as Amal, Vimal and Kamal also turned in good performances in spite of the script, which didn't give them much scope to make contact with the audience. The semi circular set, designed by Michael Muthu closed in the acting area.

The gyrating graphics and the doorways reiterated the wheel motif of the play. Interesting, since, with Indrajit, Badal Sircar himself stepped off the proscenium into the open air to create the Third Theatre. Lighting was sensitive and unobtrusive and the music very good. The chorus however did not quite gel with the play and their part remained vague.

Then and now

Those of us who had seen the Madras Players' production of Indrajit 35 years ago felt trapped into assessing the impact of the play on the audiences then and now.

For Madras, the earlier Indrajit was the first Indian play in English and a new mode of production. The youth then were charged with idealism and fighting to break free. As different from that, last week the 18 to 25 age group that Evam targets, found the play clichéd. The issues the play raised were non-issues to them. They were unhappy that there was no storyline and two hours was too long a time to discuss unfounded frustration.

However everyone agreed (some grudgingly) that Indrajit was once again a well-done play from Evam.

Above all they have helped assess the extent to which Chennai's youth have evolved in three decades. The pressure points have shifted.

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