Where the Shadows End
I had arrived at Rangashankara only ten minutes prior to the play’s commencement, absolutely ravenous. Two sabudana vadas and many chillis later, my friends and I were ready for the theatre experience.
The stage production and the theatres lighting was an integral part of this play, in fact, suffice it to say, the lighting was a character of its own.
It was mostly in shapes- squares for boundaries rectangles to depict a shift in surroundings, nothing too dramatic to distract you from the story being played out, except this breathtaking shot of the light highlighting only the actors faces; creating a wonderful effect of shading on their silhouettes. I suspect the title of the play, is an actual play on the words. Where the Shadows End, Enlightenment is achieved? People populate and overtime mend? I’m not entirely sure.
Bhumi and her troupe enact the scene from Ramayana where Sita is left in the forest, by Lakshmana. Cut to a modern day divorce proceeding, and you know you are in for the pervading script on feminism. Thankfully it wasn’t all too overpowering, else the discussions on the play might have centred around it’s “feminazi” appeal.
(*Rolling my eyes and sighing*
When did it become okay to equate genocide inducing, live experimenting, bent on creating a master class of super humans, people to – wanting equality for half the population of this world?)
The story seamlessly shifted between the epic Ramayana, Bhumi’s childhood, and the actor’s lives on the stage itself. Interspersed among these visual boards was a commentary on all of them and clever references to each of these story lines and local references like the Bangalore Traffic, myths, and fables from around the world. (Ramayana improvised by the newcomer from Serbia, Kristian in the form of a Baš Čelik fairytale. How thrilling to weave in other cultures and folk tales!)
Perhaps I required the language to be more steeped in magic realism and succinct to appreciate the telling. That’s just me.
The depiction of seduction or seclusion or enticement was my favourite.
Chemistry between an antlered helmet as the Golden deer and a lady was as entrancing because of the otherworldly music, apart from the excellent dancing.
Kriyative Theatre’s Laxmi Chandrashekar, Kristian Al-droubi, Preethi Bharadwaj and Vinay Chandra each hold their forte, whether in humour, joy or fear.
Preethi Bharadwaj emotes so well, I loved her simple singing and oh their costumes! Everyone wore deep and vibrant colours of traditional Indian ethnic dresses, sometimes accompanied by an improvised cap from a dupatta. There was this other cap, which I hazard a guess, is from North Karnataka region, from our grandfather’s times. I wonder what it is called…
Thank you Shreekanth Rao and Veena Basavarajaiah for a thought provoking, interesting and sensitive play.
The heavy rain afterwards, served to leave the blanket of wonder they placed on me, intact.
Ranga Shankara, 3rd June 2016. Duration: 1 hour 20 minutes approx.
Devised and performed by Laxmi Chandrashekar, Kristian Al-droubi, Preethi Bharadwaj and Vinay Chandra
Written by Shreekanth Rao
Design and Direction by Veena Basavarajaiah