Dramanon is all set to stage ‘Guilt’ on May 11, 4.30 pm and 7.30 pm at Vyoma Artspace and Studio Theatre in J P Nagar.
Written and directed by Swetanshu Bora, the play deals with abandonment and about one’s own unique mechanisms to cope with loneliness. How these issues impact the mental health of a person forms the crux of the play.
In an interview with Metrolife, Swetanshu Bora talks about why the play is a reflection of society.
The title sounds interesting. Who exactly is it addressing?
The title of the play addresses the underlying human emotion of guilt and its impact on mental health. It’s not specific to anybody. However, in the context of the play, it focuses on the life of a boy Kishore and his would-be sister-in-law Pooja, who share a very close bond, and how the sudden death of his elder brother strains their relationship. It essentially refers to Pooja’s guilt of feeling love again without a proper closure with a family she once loved for more than a decade. Guilt also appears in smaller themes with Kishore, who is trying to come to terms with ending a relationship with his childhood home. He needs to either sell it or raze it and he struggles to come to terms with it.
How is it relevant today?
The play talks about the subtle mental health issues we face that can easily become huge monsters if gone unchecked. In general, in India, the stigma associated with mental illnesses are extremely high. Many of those who suffer from depression never seek help for the fear of being branded as ‘weak’ or ‘mad’. The play also hopes to spark conversations around depression, anxiety and stress-related mental health issues.
Does it reflect a lot of reality?
Yes, it does. The text is realistic, complete with scenes in real locations such as a hospital. On stage, however, we have made use of an abstract set design, wherein metal frames as props translate the nuances of the narrative. The story itself is inspired by a real-life experience when an old friend of Swetanshu (the play’s writer and director) wrote to him saying that she was soon getting married. She used to be engaged to a close friend of Swetanshu, who had died in an accident a few years ago. They had lost touch post that but now, seven years later, she reached out to him for no clear reason. That got him thinking of why she’d do it. From there, Swetanshu pretty much built a fictional account around what it means to need closure.
Why should one watch the play?
It’s an honest, real and rare depiction of individuals dealing with loss, guilt and finally a sense of forgiveness. It makes an effort to interpret the complexities that surround human nature and in the process tells a touching tale of two characters who are trying to seek closure and in the absence of that they suffer from mental health issues.