Poetic Justice presented as part of the ongoing Abhivyakti Edition Three at KCG is a significant original contemporary political satire in Gujarati written and directed by a young man Vaishakh Ratanben. The genre that has the potential to be an effective medium for social awareness has not been explored fully at a time when the fodder for it is all around in plenty. The play gets zestfully applauded time and again during the performance. The serious undercurrent communicates and even those not initiated into theatre pretty well seem impressed by the character of the Judge remarkably underplayed by Raju Barot.
The drama takes place in a courtroom all through. A Poet is being tried on the charge of sedition. Social Media representing people at large accuses him, interestingly played by Gopal with tags like FB as his attire, ‘You target followers of a particular religion, so you are a traitor.’ ‘Let the court decide,’ the Poet says, ‘I have a pen, not a rifle.’ ’We are in a democracy,’ people argue, ‘We can judge anyone and everyone. And a pen is more venomous than a rifle.’ The conflict is between an artist using his freedom of expression and the social media sitting in judgment with fancy interpretations of his work.
The playwright has put his finger on this conflict. The production unfortunately stops short of becoming a good drama despite having flashes of creative ideas and social commitment. The script jumps from one idea to another and entertainingly develops it, at times with disdain. It needs to be tightened with selected issues though tangentially it would mention those related. The Poet, played with conviction by Priyansh is an unchecked torrent of words, unrelieved by dramatic silence and modulation, particularly in the first half.
For a dramatic satire to be effective, it needs a sense of balance and restraint. Without it, it is in the danger of turning into a street corner discussion full of emotional outbursts and bursts of energy. A work of art thrives on suggestion. The writer-director has that potential. His sensitivity is reflected in the Hindi poem Recycle. Vaishakh as Kavita, the Poet’s inner image, talks of a rag-picking young mother who was smothered with stinking garbage from ‘civilized’ four young men who came in a car. Instead of an ugly realistic scene, the director here has a young dancer Khushi’s symbolic short dance to accompany the recitation. Elsewhere he has masked players to represent animals.
Business like, getting stern at times or a bit sarcastic, Veteran actor Raju Barot’s Judge is a study in the use of dramatic speech, movement of eyes and maintaining the right demeanour. The dramatic surprise at the end, marked with compassion, would not have impressed as the playwright’s master stroke if the Judge had not been portrayed by the actor with such credibility.
Image Courtesy : Abhivyakti The City Arts Project
Jun 14, 2019
Streaming platforms like Netflix have enabled new cinema to emerge in exciting ways and these often turn out to be great alternatives to mainstream cinema. What makes this phenomenon possible? We explore. I’m 10 minutes into watching Nanette on Netflix…
May 31, 2019
Check out some highly rated heritage Airbnb properties in Ahmedabad that are more than a century old but don’t cost a fortune! Enjoy the basic amenities of a hotel while you revel in the local cuisine, colour and hospitality. The…
May 29, 2019
Let’s know Shubigi Rao, who has recently been selected as the curator for the 2020 Kochi Muziris Biennale, for her “exceptional acumen and inventive sensibilities” The format of the art biennale to showcase contemporary visual art, across the world is modeled on…
May 24, 2019
In this piece 64 year old Dr Yatin Desai, shares with CY his inspiring story of how to scale towering mountains with utmost ease and how this life adventure activity can shape human character and health. Chances are high that…