Looking at how myths have been transformed into history and another reality of sorts, while shaping the moral fabric of societies across the world, is what Where the Shadow Ends is about.
Exploring a contemporary interpretation of a famous epic, the play also delves into the socio-political issues of the past, and how they have framed our present. Directed by Veena Basavarajaiah, scripted by Shreekanth Rao and produced by Kryative Theatre, the experimental play is designed to shock, tease and tickle the audience into thinking for themselves.
The play which revolves around the lives of Raghav and Bhumi, deal with the dilemmas Bhumi faces as Raghav, an IAS officer seems like the kind who is too into his work and doesn’t make time for his wife.
This leads Bhumi to join a theatre group, where she plays the role of Sita. “The stories run parallel to each other and we devised it in such a way that the audience can see that Bhoomi is infact Sita. And like Rama, Raghav too has an administrative job which he gives top priority to. But in the epic, we don’t see Sita’s version, despite knowing what she went through,” says Veena, who is known for her collaborative work with Attakkalari and Shobana’s Dance Company.
“We have a Serbian actor playing the role of Ravana, to indicate that he was a foreigner who came from a different background with different values regarding love and marriage. And for him, marriage is not an issue, which is why he is constantly persuading Sita,” explains the director who doesn’t want the audience to come with the idea of the play just focusing on the Ramayana. “An epic is something which is across cultures. So we don’t want to mention the name of the epic but instead challenge some of the views the epic proposes and get people to think for themselves with the help of humour,” adds Veena.
In addition to the parallel narratives, the four actors too are constantly switching between roles to keep the audience engrossed. “We have been exposed to just one person’s interpretation of the narrative and we haven’t questioned it. It’s about time we did as even today, fundamentalists are laying out their own Lakshmanrekhas for women and expect them to abide by it. From sexuality to clothing and even women’s opinions are controlled,” says Laxmi Chandrashekhar, one of the main actors.
And to add a little more drama, there is also a blend between dance and theatre with choreographed contemporary moments that are sure to leave people mesmerised! “The question we want to pose is, are we still living under the shadows of Sita? Is the past always going to influence our current life? I think the audience needs to come prepared to question things without just accepting values that have been passed on for generations,” says Laxmi, conclusively.
— The play is being staged at Atta Gallata on March 10.