It may happen again

While the garbage in the City seems to be causing endless discussions, Theatre Counteract’s play ‘Pestilences’, which was a walk through the past of Bangalore, talks about what once happened, and what may happen again.

A scene from ‘Pestilences’.

Adapted from Albert Camus’ ‘The Plague’, and directed and written by Vivek V Narayan, this play has been brought into context with the plague that overshadowed the City in 1898. The play left the audience spellbound with its wit and concept.

From the opening scene of the play, where one sees an old woman in rags with her back to the audience, to the same lady sitting, as the closing scene, the play is one that will keep you involved. With witticism and sarcasm in almost every scene, the play, apart from being an entertainer, is also a sure reflection of the past.

The play revolves around the City and how an epidemic had spread. The play is a platform that clearly depicts the game of politics, the helplessness of middlemen, and the frustration of the common man.The emerging of goddess ‘plague-amma’ from this epidemic is another look into the times of no reasoning. The play also reflects on how often a wipe-out has to happen to make way for new beginnings.

What was noticeable was the use of bamboo ladders, wooden boxes, bamboo sticks, and ropes, to make stage props that were used in scenes that varied from an office set-up to a church, from a scene around a bridge to a railway station.

The use of bamboo is justified when the Dewan says that Mysore state was giving away free timber and bamboo to people in the name of decongestion. With dialogues in Urdu, Kannada and Tamil, the play reached out to one and all.

Norka Fernandes, an art director, excitedly talks about the play, “‘Pestilences’ is a true picture of what can happen to the City again, if we aren’t watchful enough. The dialogues, strong and funny, serve their purpose, and remind us about how relevant this play is to now.”

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