Four great plays of the tragic playwright
Dr Salam Shantibala Devi
Contd from previous issue
At this point one thing became quite certain to me that the success of such a solo performance starts in the writing stage. But the difficulty rises when one faces the art of playwrighting regarding such a solo piece of performance I wanted to know more, So I asked him, one thing I cannot forget about on what Budha said is that – I had been paying utmost interest to the mechanism of playwriting in the beginning but no more. What I think in this matter is that a playwright ought to be a consummate storyteller. But as for solo plays the writer needs to workout the narrative sequences beforehand for instance… narrator as reporter, narrator as performer, narrator changing into a character (or actor) and character becoming a narrator… sand this is important, because it is going to maintain the relationship transformation between the narrator and spectator. We need to be very clear of this in advance.
As mentioned above Budha’s Dream From My Room can be said to be a play having its origin in the rehearsal hall, an out in front of his home. He started remembering the past sequences, those incidents when he found an old pena musical instrument lying on the earthen floor, smoldy, and covered with thick layers of dust. This rehearsal hall may be said his most precious thing in his life. The artist’s dream is a conflict against a faculty system. It is a thirst for peace. But today’s extremely fearsome, society has been attacking upon it from outside. The performer detests it so much, I mean, the external world and its society. His dream comprises of the idea that none can defeat an artist unalloyed mind and spirit. The last scene shows incessant bursts of firing on the artist’s inside the hall. The artist the performer falls down the floor into a lifeless heap thus ends the play.
It seems that Budha Chingtham had been exerted a great influence by the absurd playwright Harold Pinter while he was writing this play. Because while reading the play we are reminded of Harold Pinter’s play the Room and the sehizophrenic fear the character faced in the play of the external world. He also writes in this play of Pinter’s influence in a dialogue. “Well, primarily Pinter’s. The Room was my first encounter with modern drama”. (DFMR, p.61)
Budha depicts the present government’s encounter with the insurgents of this period in a beautifully crafted aesthetics and his own autobiography. There is surrealism, realism realism theatricalism as well as poetic expression in his craft of the play that must be why viewers fell crazy after his writing nationally. Thus the solo play’s innovative appeal is in another level quite different naturally from every angle.
Oh !..... A monstress has bound me up, my legs, my hands, My head waits for you on the cutting block. Take up your dagger. Chop me off into hundreds of pieces.
(Mythical Surrender, P.92)
The play Mythical Surrender was premiered on 28th August 2010 in the Jawaharlal Nehru Manipur Dance Academy. It was Budha’s one of the most successful plays. The play shone with renewed light and vigour amidst the fading seen of Manipuri experimental plays as well as experimental playwriting. The main subject of this play is the depiction of the psychological depletion of both mind and body of a defeated army by a group of more powerful army amidst the history of armed conflict by a systematic rape and ravaging of the females of the defeated weaker group of insurgents by the stronger in a universal way. The story is about raping of a newly married wife before her husband by a group of snake like soldiers. She then conceived a child and when it was born, he too started following the ways of its rapist father until finally unable to bear its despicable ways the mother herself shot dead the son, Thus ended the play.
Mythical Surrender is Budha Chingtham’s Best Script Award Winning play in the META festival. There were 380 entries that year coming from all over India and out of that only 10 plays were nominated including Mythical Surrender Finally those 10 (ten) plays were made to give live performance in the Shri Ram Centre, New Delhi. There were top ranking theatre persons as juries like Mahesh Elkunchwar and Anuradha Kapoor. The Best Original Script winner carried a cash prize of Rs. 75000/- along with a well designed Trophy Mythical Surrender could open its account among the countries from this region in the Best Script Section in Theatrical Performance competition. Not only in Best Script but also it was awarded the Best Choreographer as well as the Best Innovative Sound Meta Award.
Many theatre critics applauded this play as the first play that broke the records of the beautiful Indian Narrative in Jawaharlal Nehru’s India in the post Independence Era in the Dailies published in New Delhi. Even the Roopkatha International journal wrote clearly about the play’s extraordinary theme in the following manner.
Independence on 15 August, 1947 marks the end of a long struggle, the moment when in Jawaharlal Nehru’s words, “The soul of a nation, long suppressed, finds utterance” people look forward with the hope to the creation of a new public order, one in which the problems.
Associated with the British Raj would disappear, Mythical surrender is an attempt to destroy the sanguine narratives of the people by challenging the imperial metropolitan descouse of the Centre which is at the heart of these narratives.
(Roopkatha Journal, An international Journal, Vol. V. No. 2, 2013)
Mythical Surrender may be said to be an extremely serious modern tragedy. The mother had to kill her own son due to the demands of the time and place.
(To be contd)