A metaphor for a changing society

A mere interaction between people can be dull and boring. While watching a play like Party where characters hardly have movements on stage - walking from one corner of the room to the other to fetch liquor or playing chess while delivering the lines, expressions and minute activities play a crucial role.

 Creating a sense of thrill becomes difficult with words. Even excessive dialogues can get tedious for the audience but final-year students of National School of Drama did justice to the act by giving depth to each character. Even simple movements never led the energy of the play take a plunge at any moment.

Written in 1976 by Mahesh Elkunchwar, the play highlights aspirations, frustrations and rivalries as ideologies of the people living in a metropolis gradually undergoes a change between 19th and 20th century. It was the time when the nation was going through liberalisation, which not only impacted the social life of the people but changed the notion towards capitalism and feudalism.

At surface level, the play is about the buying and selling of artists and intellectuals in a society. Literacy at that time was a privilege. But at a deeper level, it is about the sense of failure that haunts the writer and how he prefers to compromise with his ideals. He condemns everyone around him yet he chooses to come to terms with what he has never believed in.

The doctor, a man of science, is placed in this play as an outsider who witnesses the breakdown of moral integrity helplessly. Amrit, who is not present in the play, is the talk of the gathering which includes Damyanti, daughter of a cabinet minister; Sona, Damyanti’s daughter, who has been cheated in love; Barve a well-known writer; Mohini, Barve’s wife and a disgruntled soul who left acting years ago to marry Barve; Bharat, a struggling writer; Agashe, a commercial theatre producer; Vrinda, Malvika and Narendra.

Together, they meet at a party thrown by Damyanti. As Amrit, who once used to be part of such gathering and has settled in a tribal region to help those exploited marginalised people, continues to be the subject of discussion among all the characters. His action is like a thorn in the flesh for the rest of the cultured society. Everyone calls him stupid and immature and when he is killed during his fight for the rights of the marginalised, there is only a ripple of regret in the air. Sooner, for each of the characters, life is back to square one, where there is once again ambition, greed and treachery.

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