Slice of life brought alive on stage

Slice of life brought alive on stage

MODERN WOES

The female protagonist Mrinal of Tagore’s play comes alive .

Capvating Seema Biswas performs in Streer Patra.

The woman clad in yellow saree left an indelible mark on the audience with her 45-minute solo performance. The experienced yet self-proclaimed shy theatre and film actress Seema Biswas, popularly known as ‘Bandit Queen’, was a visual treat.

Walking, dancing, crying and expressing almost every emotion with the help of a red dupatta and a washing tub, the well-known theatre personality left the audience awestruck and spellbound by playing Mrinal from Rabindranath Tagore’s play Streer Patra that was staged at Sammukh, National School of Drama as a part of 14th Bharat Rang Mahotsav.

The venue was filled more than its capacity, with everyone in the audience trying to capture even the minutest of Seema’s expressions, who spoke less and conveyed more through her acting.
Tagore’s play, Streer Patra was penned down in a letter format and recounts the life experiences of the protagonist, Mrinal, who having abandoned her marital life, writes a letter to her husband. The paradox of her life is that while her beauty is forgotten by everybody, including her husband, her intelligence is a source of discomfort to all. In an attempt to curb her intelligence, the family relegates her to the periphery of the household and denies her identity.

The decision to play Tagore’s Mrinal was influenced by Seema’s real witness to stories where women have committed suicide due to the inhuman treatment by in-laws. She says, “I have come across cases where even educated women commit suicide as they are unable to bear the mental pressure exerted on them by their in-laws. This made me choose this play, so I could present the condition of women in modern society.”

Prerna Desai, a homemaker was also mesmerised by the play. She said, “Being a homemaker, I know what rigours of every day life are. What Seema ji was portraying on the stage, could touch us deeply because there was no pretence about it and the real scenario was presented as it was.”

Talking about the agony of the modern women and comparing their condition with the female characters of Tagore’s plays, Seema says, “I chose Streer Patra because Tagore’s women are strong compared to the women of today. There is a small request for parents: If your daughter comes up to you some day and complains about her in-laws, please do not close your doors on her or else she will not be left with any other choice but to commit suicide.”

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