Mythology interpreted in a different way

CHIMERAS

The play, an adaptation of three stories by Shashi Deshpande, looked into the characters of Draupadi, Duryodhana and Kunti, in a new light. The characters were stripped of their pre-conceived notions of perfection and were depicted as human beings deeply affected by the turn of events.

Each of the stories was also interspersed with dance narratives put together by Rhythmotion Dance Company. Choreographed by Chitra Arvind, it was a culmination of various dance forms like bharatanatyam, kalari, chau and Indian contemporary dance and aided in the interpretation of the characters. It was also used as a tool to break the monotony of the narrative.

‘And What Has Been Decided’, a monologue set before the war, spoke of the anguish and humiliation Draupadi faced in the hands of the Kauravas.  This monologue had Draupadi provoking the Pandavas to fight, reminding them of their promise to her. It ended with her vision of the massive destruction caused by the war and her realisation that she was just a mere pawn in the larger scheme of things. Surabhi Herur, as Draupadi, managed to project the hurt and anguish of a defeated woman well.

However, the narrative in some instances also bordered on unrealism, resulting in the waning of interest. Next on stage was Duryodhana in ‘The Last Enemy’. The insecure Duryodhana, who finally learns to face his fears, was a complex character to play.

Sanjeev Nair played the arrogant insecure Duryodhana to perfection and his metamorphosis to an all accepting fearless man was subtle. Madhavi Sahu won hearts instantly with her portrayal of Kunti in ‘Hear Me, Sanjaya’. Describing the aftereffects of the war, Kunti was one of the most relatable characters of the three.

The conviction and honesty in her performance kept the monologue highly engaging. The simple and humorous narrative left a lasting impression on the audience. Said Krishna, the director of the play on choosing the theme, “Of the three stories, it was Duryodhana’s character that inspired me to pick this theme. The experiment with dancers was also something that we tried out. The stories are also in the right sequence and speak of why the war happened, what happened during the war and the consequences of it.”

Swathi Sharma, a member of the audience, appreciating the play said, “I really liked the way Draupadi was portrayed. All in all it was a great experience.”

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