Entertainment Theatre 14 Dec 2019 A masterpiece worth ...

A masterpiece worth exploring

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | PRIYA RATHNAM
Published Dec 14, 2019, 12:02 am IST
Updated Dec 14, 2019, 12:02 am IST
Maat is a tribute to the late Girish Karnad’s play Yayati — the culmination of nine minds, each distinct from the other.
A scene from the play.
 A scene from the play.

This play title Maat is inspired by one of Girish Karnad’s first play named Yayati. The play begins with a dream, and slowly we delve into the subconscious of the characters themselves. This 90-minute long play, Maat is set to be staged in Bengaluru today and tomorrow at Shoonya Centre for Arts and Somatic Practices and on December 19 at Ranga Shankara

Samragni Dasgupta, director of Maat sharing her inspiration to pick one of Karnad’s play says, “It was interesting to read a play that managed to capture the nuances of human life while portraying characters who are meant to be much larger than that.  It felt almost cathartic to choose a playwright who wrote about experiences and emotions that speak volumes about human nature at the same age as us. In the end, we chose the play because it speaks to the youth.”
Music and movement are used to add nuances and layers to the play. Maat is a culmination of nine minds, each distinct from the other. The troupes gave each character their own conscience and gave them the chance to ask questions about their stories. And used the stage through minimalistic sets and in the manner of black-box theatre.

 

Samragni also adds about their four months of writing, developing the script and practicing, she adds, “Trying to do something out-of-the-box and experimented with a classic in a way where we have broken it apart, while also staying true to the nature and basic elements of the original. We are so very excited to showcase this experiment!”

Allen Benny Mathew, assistant director of Maat talks about his constant brainstorming sessions and attempts to read the characters beyond the limited pages they formed a part of. He says, “Karnad capitalised on this feeling and created for himself a purpose, a masterpiece and a work of art for people remember him after his death. This play takes a comprehensive approach to power dynamics, looking at it from multiple perspectives and hence gives a fresh take from the rather usual, myopic view on how monarchies work. Moreover, this play presents us with very strong female characters who form the pillars of the play.”

 

Allen also adds, “Starting my first stint at directing a play made me realise the multiple facets that exists beyond the realms of tone, lines and movement, the ones that an actor is usually limited to. From costumes to schedule to figuring out the stage set up, the responsibilities are endless. I learned to endure the perpetual tension, that amplifies itself with every passing day and deal with it in a placid manner.”

Pranwat Singh enacting the role of the Sutradhar describes his character which walks on a very thin line between ignorance and awareness. He says, “While the role was meant to be just the narrator of the story, the complexities of the character leaks far beyond the few pages on which it was written. What truly motivated me to play this character was the scope of growth to build the character from the solid foundation that Karnad had already created. I attempted to link my personal growth to that of the character and explore myself through him.”

 

Akanksha Sharma playing the role of queen’s servant who is wise and observant shares, “I decided to enact this role because she is very different from me however I feel connected to her compassion completely. I love that my character is the most self-aware character and that is an amazing trait to possess. Also there are many aspects that the play deals with but one thing that I feel very strongly about is that we are not sticking to the traditional methods of theatre but rather experimenting with everything.”

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