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Acclaimed troupe, Phoenix Players makes two classic tales their own

Salim Ghouse and Anita Salim started Phoenix Players in Pune, nearly 20 years ago, to facilitate a ‘holistic commune’ between the performance and the audience. They use several techniques like mime, movement, interplay with light and dialogue to share what Salim Ghouse calls ‘the magic and mystery of a live performance’. After bringing classics by Mevlana Rumi, Shakespeare, Henrik Ibsen, Jean Genet, Athol Fugard, Peter Handke, Neil Simon and Harold Pinter to the Indian stage, they give the city their adaptations of Henrik Ibsen’s Ghosts and Mevlana Rumi’s celebrated verses in Troubadour.

Controversy re-born
While Ghosts, written in 1881 and performed by Phoenix Players since 1986, has always been a controversial story of ‘a woman in a man’s world’ and the eerie games of patriarchy, Ghouse has rendered it as a tale with significance to the Indian woman across the ages. “I feel that the character of Mrs Alving is highly reflective of many women even today. And the men in her life and the choices she is forced to make resonates with women across the spectrum,” he explains of Ibsen’s play whose plot is both a tragic and sadly familiar mirror of prevalant societal hypocrisy.

Ode to the greats
Troubadour, on the other hand, brings to life Rumi’s mystical musings and the philosophy of the Sufi school of thought in a contemporary world. Facets of life and its many emotions are celebrated in Ghouse’s interpretation through a collage of three stories, interspersed with poetry. It is moreover, Ghouse’s personal tribute. “This is my tribute to the great story-tellers through the ages who have brought elements of mystery and magic to the mundane events of life in a way the most educated of the time failed to do,” he says in conclusion.

November 22-23. At RangaShankara, JP Nagar. Tickets (`200) at bookmyshow.com

—Susanna Chandy

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