It is a play of rare beauty, of deeply etched images and some extraordinary use of stage. We know instantly why she loves the stage so much, and why she doesn’t make a TV series. Not that she wouldn’t do a great job of it anyway. The stage is used like a blank canvas on which each layer is vigorously painted on. The final image on screen is a multi layered, visual delight. Lot of earthy colors.
The story of Lorca’s Blood Wedding is an old one. The story probably occurs with great regularity in many places even now, however, in story telling, drama and other such pursuits, this one is a story that has been told often. Therefore the text doesn’t or hardly evokes thought or even interest. The story telling however, was stunning. The politics of the play was lost a bit, mostly I imagine because we don’t automatically associate a punjabi rural setting with war or violence. Unless it is introduced in the story explicitly and repeatedly. North East India immediately comes into mind, for their close association with land, the strong presence of women in the everyday fabric, and the presence of violence. However, there, women are also involved in the violence?
One may argue that there is hardly any subtlety in the depiction, every moment of drama, inherent or otherwise has been underlined so heavily, the visuals are too dramatic, the acting is very dramatic etc. But one can only complain halfheartedly when it was done so beautifully.
Some of the staples of a Neelam Mansingh were present. Having watched just one of her plays before this, Nagamandala, I maybe forgiven for thinking that folk stories with a strong sense of latent feminism, is something she does very, very well. She never fails to capture the village setting. I imagine, the depiction of women in a Neelam Mansingh play is a topic for a Phd thesis. And what an interesting piece of work that will be.
The design of the play is excellent. A real piece of art was created on stage, and if one could buy it and store it forever on our walls, it would be a much sought after piece. The use of the spaces brought them all alive for the audience. Lorca’s play they say is centred around nature, and the use of it as a dramatic tool. And this was stunningly captured in the play. [Read more here]
Lastly, one of the beautiful things in the play was the ‘dual’ potrayal of each character. Giving us a great sense of the character, be it past/present, or inside/outside.
It is also slightly reminescent of ‘Spinal Chord’ which was an adaptation of a Marquez novel, involving a wedding, virginity and women (the oldest one played a man incidentally, and so well)