Taking a dig at society

CLASSIC  ADAPTATION

Taking a dig at society

It’s true – we're in the shit right up to our necks, and that’s precisely the reason why we walk with our heads held high!” Remember this famous line from Dario Fo’s classic play Accidental Death of An Anarchist?

The words resonated when Asmita theatre group performed the play Operation Three Star by theater veteran Arvind Gaur at the Amphitheatre of India Habitat Centre.

A Hindi adaptation, Operation Three Star is based on the same story line where the protagonist, the Madman makes the system and its torchbearers (police personnel) go haywire with his antics.

But here, the story is based in a “badnaam thana of Delhi” from where a suspected terrorist has jumped and the police is in a fix due to the enquiry being carried out on the case.

The presentation of the play is rather in the form of a street play. One almost feels as if the college days are back when in between the scenes, some 30- odd people join the actors on stage to sing a song based on the theme of the issue explored in  just the previous dialogue.

The entry of this singing troupe appeared rather abrupt but the creative and rhyming lyrics of the songs left the audience repeat the words even after the play. No wonder the compositions are of the famous lyricist Piyush Mishra.

While acting was not impressive, the contemporary issues of Indian society such as corruption, bureaucracy, child deaths, female foeticide, etc were explored well.

Towards the end of the play, the story went beyond the script and delved into experimentation with characters talking about the contemporary problems of India, out of nowhere and then returning to their characters to perform the climax.

Director, Arvind explains, “We have tried to incorporate alienation in the play so as to include people’s interpretation.” He also shares, “This play was written in 1997 and has been evolving since then. There has been many additions and subtractions in the script with time but it has always remained relevant to the contemporary issues of the society.”

Dario Fo’s revolutionary ideas seem to be unaccepted till date as Arvind informs, “Hours before this play was to be staged in Gujarat, we were stopped from performing. At times we are also asked to take various permissions before we perform this play even though we live in a democracy and the script doesn’t has anything revolutionary as such.”

But the play surely gave a vent to the anger of victims of corruption. Not only did the audience agreed to the hypocrisy of government but also the actors experienced pleasure in performing. Himanshu Maggo who has been playing the role of Inspector Pahuja since two years says, “I have been a victim of corruption in my personal life and thus whenever I perform the play, my anger towards the system is portrayed.” He admits having visited various police stations to improvise his character of police officer.
And this play even inspires the actors. Shilpi Marwaha, who has been playing the role of journalist Fatima Abbasi says, “When I read that Dario Fo’s wife was kidnapped and raped and yet the director didn’t stop staging the play, it motivated me to keep playing such characters who voice the public opinion and fight against the corrupt system.”

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