Visualising the agony of loss

Last Updated 19 June 2012, 14:27 IST

The darkness of the stage is disturbing. The red colour of grapes indicates more than the fruit.

The action on stage is more grave than the eyes hope to capture. And it is difficult to get rid of the ominous feeling. It is as though one has just conjured up the presence of ominous on stage.

Neelam Mansingh Chowdhry’s play Blood Wedding - an adaptation of Federico Garcia Lorca’s play of the same name, is a multi-layered deconstruction of family feuds that brew through generations and take numerous lives over issues of property.

Staged at Abhimanch located within the NSD premises, Blood... has been translated in Hindi by Mahendra Kumar from Surjit Patar’s Punjabi version. The play carries Neelam’s favourite technique of double casting a single protagonist. She follows this technique with all her major actors.

While the audience usually interprets the combination as representing inner and outer selves of an individual, the director herself is thinking along more complicated lines, wherein one reacts to a situation while the other emotes in the same moment.

Blood... is a tale of a community passionately bound to their land where they toil to grow and nourish lives. However, mixed with this beauty and vitality is a history of widowhood and bitterness as the womenfolk watch generations of young men grow up, fall in love, procreate only to get murdered.

Difficult to understand in one go, Blood... highlights the struggle between the passions of individuals, their traditions while celebrating the rough, terrible beauty of nature that both elevates and destroys the soul. The play stages a culture that lays bare the truth of an individual and his right to act on impulses.

In the words of the director, “Anyone who lets his duende get carried away may also find himself returned to the soil from which he had sprung. His blood nourishing the crops that will feed another generation that will again struggle with the same themes like their forebears.”

The imagery of death, usage of random characters such as the woodcutters and symbolism of moon make the play difficult to comprehend. The concepts however, are similar to the imagery in Lorca’s poetry. Neelam explains, “The Moon (a constant on stage) transforms itself but it is difficult to communicate (what it represents).”

However, she adds, “Understanding the play is not as essential as experiencing it is.”
Its a love story which turns sour due to the land feuds between the families of the girl, who is only referred to as dulhan and the boy called Ujagar.
A play to experience not for story but for multiple devices!

(Published 19 June 2012, 14:26 IST)

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