Traversing the terrain of love, indifference

The characters didn’t seem distant, nor did their stories. But interestingly they were culled from the Spanish playwright Paloma Pedrero’s work Parting Gestures that beautifully captures three different stories: The Colour of August, A Night Divided, and The Voucher. 

Performed at Instituto Cervantes over the weekend, Parting Gestures left that strikingly familiar feeling in the audiences’ mind as it portrayed the three one-act plays depicting human encounters, traversing through the terrain of love and indifference. 

These modern day stories embark upon different stages of relationships, in three different setups.

Initiating the audience into the world of Maria and Laura in The Color of August, the play revolves around two women artists who have been friends since childhood and reunited after an eight-year separation. 

The act brings out their artistic and personal rivalries, where Maria triumphs economically but Laura comes out stronger on a personal level. 

Marked by a strong sense of sarcasm, this act keeps you on the tenterhooks as their personal exchanges keep shifting from being loving to nasty, throughout the act.
 
As the play moves on to the lives of Marta and Gonzalo in the act The Voucher, where Marta has left her husband, Gonzalo, and the two squabble over the custody of their dog.  

What keeps the three different flow is best explained by the director Manjari Kaul. 

She comments, “One of the things that really interests me is the interconnectedness of the plays, the fluid that runs and seeps through each one of them. I'm eager to explore the in-between of these three urban love stories, the action and situations that surround them; what the experience of the city lends to the longing and desire in the story, the gender dynamics that cause the tugging and release moments in the text.” 

Ergo the director added, “We chose to look at the complexity of multiple genders and gender relationships. One of the ways in which we explored this is with the playing of male parts by women. We create a space that allows for androgyny for multiple 
sexual identities, a slipperiness in sexual identities that disallows essentialism.”

Though the climax of act two leaves you wondering about the devious nature of human relationships as Maria has to trick Gonzalo into revealing that he would rather let the dog die than have Marta keep it. 

The performance in this act wasn’t as emphatic as in the other two. 

Act three, A Night Divided, was the most engaging performance out of the three as it was high on humour, inspired by day-to-day life. 
 
The characters stuck to their terrain and imparted the magic of nonchalance to their performance. 

A Night Divided revolved around two strangers awaiting the last train in the subway.
  
Their ephemeral connection, built only by their casual banter, made for a refreshing performance. 

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