A paradox we knew as Jim Morrison

On Stage

The stage is pitch dark.  All you can hear is Allen Ginsberg’s original poetry ‘Howl’ a shrill cry  against American capitalism and the marginalisation of black Americans.

Nothing is clear until you call your senses to attention and strain to understand the narration. Nevertheless, the play ‘Jim Morrison – The Unknown Soldier’ by the third year students of National School of Drama (NSD) begins with Sam Bernett, the author of the same book, who claims that American singer Jim Morrison died of a heroin overdose at his nightclub and was later carried back to his apartment and placed in the bathtub, to cover up the real reason for his death.

Sam, who is hiding at Jim’s grave, is arrested by the police. But suddenly, there are five women on the stage, standing near the grave and talking about their relationship with Jim. It was all segmented.

Nothing seems to be co-related except Jim’s personal association with the women. And then, Jim’s grave opens and the legendary singer (played by Suneet Bohra) emerges from it. A lean guy with long curly hair, wearing animal-print trousers, held in place with a broad belt, moving his body like a wave, moves amongst the audience.

There is a look  of confidence, even smugness, in his face as if there is nothing to repent about.  It’s the beginning of Jim’s journey in flashback. From his relationship with his school time girlfriend Candy to his aggressive attitude that comes from the sexual harassment he has faced from his father at a tender age, the play highlights the emotional traits of a singer who doesn’t have the guts to look into the eyes of the people.

But there’s a slight twist in the narration of the story of a man who at one moment is portrayed a being internally disturbed and is at the next instant at peace with everything around him. There are two actors on the stage playing the role of Jim, representing his two different personalities. The character played by Chirag Garg personifies Jim’s argumentative personality whilst the other who is the singer (played by Suneet Bohra) is Jim’s other persona.

“Jim is like a myth in the play. If I had made the play more like a virtual biography, then the play would be boring. So, I have taken the liberty to present his life in a creative manner,” says Dinesh Khanna the play’s director.

“Since Jim's death is mysterious, many say that he died of a cardiac arrest in the bathtub, while others say he died due to drug overdose, I have fictionalised his death. By the end of the play he starts visualising his death. But still he is not fearful. Therefore, I decided to start the play from the grave where people who loved him are celebrating his death,” he says.

The director keeps alive the spark in the play by portraying Jim as a fascinating personality. “He was a paradoxical character who had relationships with both,” says Dinesh. Therefore, sensuality and intimacy were the highlights of the play. And this regard applause is due to the actors who brilliantly pulled off the sensual scenes without even a hint of vulgarity.

Young girls who acted as Jim’s love were at their uninhibited best, their performance conforming to the norms of decency and yet powerful enough to convey the passion. Adding life to the play was the live band , with the late singer’s songs being sung by the actors themselves.

Comments (+)