Embark on a surreal journey with Night of Love

The play revolves around people from across time periods as well as geographic locations meeting in a common dreamscape.

Mumbai: In a time and era, when anyone even remotely interested in performing arts channelises all their energies onto cinema, there still exist people who respect theatre for its raw charm and vast culture and aspire to be thespians.

On 24th and 25th September, Mumbai based theatre group, Metamorphosis Theatre Inc will stage their new surrealistic production ‘Night of Love’ at the NCPA and YIAMAS, respectively.

Written and directed by Omkar Bhatkar, the play, which is their most elaborate production till date, revolves around people from across time periods as well as geographic locations meeting in a common dreamscape. The ‘Night of Love’ explores love and offers multiple perspectives.

When asked what inspired him to sketch down such a unique story, Omkar Bhatkar tells us, “Dreams are something that have always fascinated me. Where exactly does a dream occur, what kind of space is it and what kind of people and entities do we meet? Are there reasons why we dream of certain people? Why do some dreams keep recurring? How come dreams are so lucid in their flow and complex in their nature? Such questions have always baffled me, and then I came up with the idea of Night of Love, in which people fall asleep in the real world and wake up in a dreamland filled with night deities (using Greek mythology). I've tried to understand Freud's Psychoanalytical Theory and used it with reference to his Interpretation of dreams in Night of Love.”

He adds, “I felt like exploring the other side of human nature which is not so visible in the real realm but exposed in the world of dreams. The play explores the vulnerable as well as vicious and even virtuous side of human nature. I wanted to probe in the human consciousness and how it behaves in the world of darkness and dreams.”

Works of Haruki Murakami, Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Vivant Denon play an important role here, as it inspired Bhatkar to dwell upon a complex topic as such and pen a perfect story down.

When asked to what extend audience will connect to the story and be able to grasp it, Bhatkar says, “Night of Love is an extremely interpretative piece. The audience will be able to connect to as much as they are able to grasp and understand vis-à-vis their own behavioral traits. The play is identifiable to a far extent as well as it is surreal. The audience, to an extent, will be able connect to the play due the vulnerability of human nature in the world of dreams. There is a lot of use of object theatre and semiotics, which I'm aware to an extend might go ignored by members of the audience but I'm also aware there will be those in the audience who will understand the symbolic usage of properties on stage and metaphors used in the play.”

Theatre artist and an actor by profession, Manav Arora plays the role of Vincent. Throwing some light on his character, Manav tells us, “My character’s name is Vincent, a man whose dream or surreal personality is defined by the writer but not the real identity, which is left upon me to play with. I'm happy with that. Vincent, in reality, according to me, is a laid back common man. He works as a digital designer, does not have any complaints in his life or with his job. He has a partner. He is just like any other man, paying much less detail to life, to ideas, to surrealism.”

Manav Arora with Bageshri Josirao as Vincent and Maya.Manav Arora with Bageshri Josirao as Vincent and Maya.

But that’s not it as Manav’s character Vincent changes in the dreamscape, which he cannot control but he isn’t aware of. “Vincent becomes this young contemporary philosopher destined in the surreal world to be with Maya, or not,” he adds. Well, to unravel the truth, you'll have to see the play.

When asked if it was tough mastering a role as such, Manav reveals, “It was very intriguing and challenging to play Vincent, not particularly hard. For one thing, there haven't been any contemporary philosophers since Immanuel Kant in the 18th century. When you study philosophy, the philosophers we read about are him and all the known philosophers before him like Socrates or Plato or Friedrich Nietzsche. The thing with these philosophers is that there is a commonality between their ideologies and studies; it's generic to a level. But, all the so called modern philosophers, which technically aren't, are very varied and don't come close to being generic. Thus the challenge arises, how to play a modern philosopher? Fortunately, I didn't have to play a modern philosopher according to Omkar. Vincent is more of a contemporary philosopher in the dreamscape. To play a philosopher, one must have a mindset, a body language, mannerism like one. That was the challenge and to do it, I repeatedly asked numerous questions to Omkar ranging from how would Vincent be conversing to Maya and his surroundings – to why would he say what he does to what kind of clothes would he wear and how close, if at all, would he be to a pure academic in terms of his personality. It took answering a lot of questions but I got there and I like playing Vincent.”

Metamorphosis Theatre Inc. is an art project formed in 2013 by budding artists that seek to express art in different forms with meaning and perspective.

The play also stars Bageshri Joshirao, Nishtha juneja, Brandon Ferriera, Pravin Gang, Juilee Manjrekar, Teena Ghamrey, Gwyneth Samson, Zainab Changi, Sherwin D'cunha, Joseph Francis and Omkar Bhatkar.

Manav arora play

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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