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Story of love and betrayal

ROMESH CHANDER

"Blood Wedding" mounted this past week at the Sri Ram Centre by Gargi College is a story of love and betrayal.



LOVE FOR THE OTHER MAN A scene from the play "Blood Wedding"

Established in 1967, Gargi College is one of the five women's colleges started by the Delhi Administration to meet the needs of girls entering higher education. The college had a modest beginning and we are told the day one began with morning-shift classes in a Government Boys' School in Defence Colony. Within a few months, the college shifted to another school building in Lajpat Nagar. In 1976, the college finally shifted to its own premises in South Delhi, thus entering a new stage of institutional development.

Today, Gargi College is one of the leading women's colleges here offering 17 academic disciplines and has won laurels not only in the academic field but also in extra-curricular activities and in the sports field. But one thing that has been missing right from beginning is an auditorium of its own. But in spite of non-availability of even the basic essentials for theatrical activity, Gargi has been running, with the help of some eminent theatre directors like Arvind Gaur and others, regular theatre workshops leading to open-air presentations, some of which this critic has had the privilege of enjoying. Incidentally, it would be of interest to theatre researchers that the founder principal Indira Thakurdas (wife of Frank Thakurdas, the doyen of University Theatre), in the very first year of Gargi, staged two plays titled "Uljhan" and "Dhong" followed by "The Barrets of Wimpole Steet", "Dadi Maa Jagi" and "Qatal Ki Havas" as public performances. If one remembers correctly, till Ms. Thakurdas retired, Gargi Dramatic Society presented at least one public performance every year. To help collect money for the auditorium project, the college this past week presented at Sri Ram Centre, Federico Garcia Lorca's well known play "Blood Wedding" directed by Nicholas Kharkongan, a young playwright who in the last few years, has given us some promising plays, and his best so far, one feels, has been "Graves and Grandmother" presented as a musical with singer Zila Khan in the lead role.

"Blood Wedding" is based on a true story of love and betrayal. It is one of the most powerful and best-known play of Lorca. We are told Lorca wrote the play after reading the newspaper story of a young bride who abandoned her husband on the wedding day to run away with her childhood lover. Lorca's "Blood Wedding" is the story of human passion that ends in a tragedy. In the play Lorca gives only one of the characters a name, the rest are only identified as mother, neighbours, bridegroom, bride, etc. The only one has a name is Leonardo, beautifully played by Ashish Paliwal, one of the guest performers, who is killed by his own destiny. Mother is an important character in the play but unfortunately in the presentation she is rather weak. What Ismat Bedi needs is more rehearsals. The bridegroom, Viraj Nair, another guest performer, is very weak and his performance needs much to be desired. Leonardo's wife Vrinda Bhamri and his mother-in-law Manish Pradhan, are pretty good. The singers and the dances are again very good. Deepak Castelino as the music director and Natasha Rastogi as the choreographer give life to the presentation. Deepak has not only composed the music for the play but also performs it live. His haunting melodies capture the audience of the play.

Digital scenography

Kharkongan's overall production design introduces digital scenography for the first time to the Delhi stage. Vishal, who for sometime, has been experimenting with digital scenography, that replaces the physical props associated with the normal stage setting by projected imagery. This was exciting as it transferred action on the stage to different locations or into different moods by the use of light projection. We hope by this time next year Gargi's dream project would have materialised and we would be watching yet another powerful play.

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