Sthananka – A play on purpose of theatre practice…leftist ideology and conflicts around

Posted by Kaahon Desk On March 29, 2020

Ruptapas theatre group’s newest production ‘Sthananka’ had its third show staged at Madhusudan Mancha on 3rd March. The play has been written by Kaushik Chattopadhyay and directed by Kaushik Ghosh.

Neel, Jyoti and Anu are three friends who, in their youth, inspired by the leftist ideology, used to dream of mass uprising through social revolution. To give their dreams the wings of reality, they chose theatre. As times changed, Jyoti and Anu found themselves at the top of the social order. Jyoti is now an eminent playwright and a writer of daily soap operas. School teacher Anu is now Jyoti’s wife. On the other hand, Neel, firm on his beliefs, ends up in jail. After spending a lot of time in prison, Neel is released and suddenly the unchanged Neel meets the changed Jyoti. Inevitably, the ideological clash starts. In actuality, the belief or the ideology does not change, only the individual does. He according to his needs changes his stance or the circumstances compel him to, and each constructs his own logic adhering to the change. And the one who doesn’t change following the situations, becomes the exception in the society, the ‘other’. How will we decide what is right and what is wrong? Will an artist express his personal feelings through his art or will he talk about the larger world? The play makes the viewers confront these questions.

Previous Kaahon Theatre Review:

Because of the lean and simple presentation, viewers connect with the play right from the beginning. The events of the play have been woven by flashback scenes and only dialogue is used to reminisce about the past. Only by changing lights and characters’ positions, flashback scenes are presented and they are swiftly brought back to the present time again, without hampering the flow. The smart craft behind the thought is discernible. Since the play’s basic tenets are the conflict between individual introspection and political ideologies, it is a bit different from typical political plays. The time the play is set in is not explicitly told but many references point that the setting is based in present time, and this is where discrepancy emerges. Why a leftist political prisoner was in jail for so long (he was jailed in around the 70s) is without any clear explanations.

The play, being mainly dependent on the dialogues, is driven by the acting. Its main three characters Jyoti, Anu and Neel are played by Kaushik Ghosh, Shipra Mukhopadhyay and Ashok Majumder, respectively. The acting of these three promotes a mutual understanding that drives the play seamlessly. The professionalism of their acting complements each other. Their smart pronunciation, correct expression and great use of space on stage make their characters lively and believable.

Paanch Korir Goppo – Full of youth, but lacking in freshnessJayanta Bandyopadhyay’s stage direction is both realistic and symbolic. The book-shelf in playwright’s (Jyoti) drawing room and oversized books and pen on the other side of the stage are symbolic. Even the back of the chair has been created in the mould of a pen’s nib. Carl Marx’s monochromatic picture in the dimly lit area of the stage achieves significance. Triguna Shankar’s lighting creates a few poignant visual moments but as a whole his design doesn’t assimilate with the main idea of the play. The use of multiple coloured light sources doesn’t always add meaning. Pallab Kirtania is here again with this play. His ambience and background music enriched the play. Alongside the ambience, silence has also been used with dexterity.

Ruptapas theatre group may be young in age but the thought process behind the selection of their previous topics has given the viewers a lot of room to think about. This play is no exception. It makes us stand face to face with the prevalent despair, confusion and betrayal in contemporary times. The conflict of the play is easily transferred into the viewer, and within that very conflict, an attempt is made to find the answer. At the end of the day, we only hope that Ruptapas theatre group doesn’t deter from their beliefs in future.

Pradip Datta
A post-graduation diploma holder of the Department of Media Studies, University of Calcutta, he has been a theatre activist in Bengal for the last twenty five years. He is a freelance journalist by profession. Besides theatre, his passion includes recitation, audio plays and many more.

Translation: Biplab Mazumder

Read this review in Bengali.

বাংলাতে পড়তে ক্লিক করুন।

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