Our greatest friend in need Google can provide us with so many theories on performance. Since history in fact all cultures and sub cultures, legislative codes, the technique of performance and all other bla bla bla has been tried to capture in words. But man still could not bring to their control, the exact chemical formulation when any of these theories can actually make a play successful or collectively fails. Now, again even these words are confusing as who or how it is decided that a play is successful or it has failed? It is as difficult to judge yet very simple as the adjectives such as “good”, “successful”, “popular” can be ascribed to any piece of art when it is reborn in the viewers imagination and can engage the spectators in an emotional journey of its own kind. The pleasure felt by the audiences while viewing a performance is difficult to create. The “Navrasa” though has its own politics of how it is created in a performance, cannot be created by artificial means but it happens. No matter how metaphysical the statement sounds, but that’s a truth otherwise the best critique would have been the best director or playwright to gift the mankind with superb pieces of art, but history shows the reverse in most of the cases.
Diversions Slash Just Joking”, written and directed by Mr. Vinay Sharma is the best example to cite. The play is full of intellectual strings but tremendously fails to engage audiences in any kind of emotional journey. Stylistic dialogues often punch out a temporary laughter, but vanish soon as the smile comes from a temporary jerk in brain and not from heart. Vinay Sharma, who had been extremely successful in Black Box Theater performed in intimate space, fails miserably when he tries the larger proscenium space. The form of the theater if can be classified as a political satire, (politics meant not CPM and Trinamool or BJP here, but of secularism, consumerism, citizen-nation relationship and many more) is cliché and old, while much more engaging works has already been done with this kind of a subject. Design wise its tiring as the play is completely dependent on dialogues (monologues mostly) where the actors with flexible body movements come up in center stage and end up giving “Gyans” (lectures) to the audiences. The reviewer did not find any relevance of the different experimentations done with the costumes for the actors, which were found out to be a dying effort to prove to the audience the talent of the thinking brain of the director. The characters were superficially inserted into the play and had very little logical significance into the narrative flow of the play.
The script demand applauds for taking into account the larger politics of mankind. But the presentation of the subject matter had only few intellectually heavy terminologies but failed to communicate emotionally. Watching “Diversion Slash Just Joking” was similar to reading a textbook before a board exam as one is bombarded with intellectual terminologies like pataphysics, anomaly, apophenia and many more. Any audience would not return with a droop down face, as he or she would fear if anyone would judge him or her to be less intellectual. But a true confession will reveal that there is actually no pleasure felt with emotions while watching the play.
It was a premiere show though, yet from producers like rikh & Padatik, more stage disciplines were demanded. Amateurish stage conduct could be noticed when the light went off or came in during the scene change. All the objections raised against the play can be clarified with intellectual justifications and explanations. But with any emotional journey (be it pleasure or distraction) the play had not walked the path with the audiences. A change of space is responsible for such with a reputed promising director like Vinay Sharma is difficult to be concluded.