Where The Shadow Ends brings together folklores from across the world in a single play
A Few minutes into the play, Where The Shadow Ends, and you will see that the lead actress has forgotten her lines. To cover up, she will narrate stories from her own life. But the catch is that her life story is similar to the original script. Whether she has forgotten her part or not is just one of the many surreal elements that this play is made of. A little later, actors will interact with members in the audience. And before you know it, they will return to their respective roles on the stage. Not just the format, the storyline will keep you guessing as well. It revolves around some of the most notable epics, but there is not one that is in focus. These tales are borrowed not just from India, but from cultures across the world. Each one blends into another seamlessly, because the plotlines are similar and somehow, connected.
This experimental production has been put together by debutant director, Veena Basavarajaiah, her writer-husband Shreekanth Rao, city-based Kriyative Theatre, and independent artistes. It was originally conceived to be a classical dance recital, Basavarajaiah tells us, adding, “But we thought a complex subject like this one needed voice, and text, hence, we switched to theatre. My basic training is in Bharatanatyam, contemporary dance and ballet. So we have also incorporated music, and contemporary movements.”
She explains the ‘subject’, “During my research, we found similarities between epics across cultures. Helen of Troy is quite similar to Ramayana and a few other Scottish stories. In every story, there are slayers of authority, and battles between good and evil. So, I wanted to look at stories that are local, with universal appeal, and vice versa. I am sure the audience will look at these characters, and go ‘Oh, they look familiar.’”
For instance, the play features a Serbian fairytale. Titled Bas Celik, it is about a man chained in a castle, and how he tricks a prince into releasing him. There is another Serbian connection in the form of actor Kristian Al-droubi. He plays the role of an anti-hero. Talking to him and other actors during rehearsals has been an eye opener, she says, elaborating,“Al-droubi was shocked when we told him about Rama and Sita’s exile. He asked ‘How could they not get intimate in 14 years?’ Concepts of chastity, and celibacy make little sense in his culture. We have such a burden of history behind us, that sometimes when a foreigner looks at things we hold sacred differently, it’s a relief. It gives us scope for creative exploration.”
June 3. Rs 200 (entry).
At Ranga Shankara.
7.30 pm. Details: 26493982
— Barkha Kumari