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Triumph over carcinoma lights up stage

Cancer is a cell run riot. An anarchist in the body. Cancer is the self-motivated, self-supporting growth of tissue.”

In 1978, when Louise Page staged Tissue, a play about a woman’s struggle with breast cancer, it broke a taboo by bringing a topic to the public proscenium that was only discussed in private rooms in hushed tones.

The woman’s body and its link to femininity was discussed in a manner like never before.

Theatrix, a Mumbai-based troupe, adapted the play to an Indian set-up and staged it in Guwahati at the Surjya National Theatre Festival at Rabindra Bhawan recently.

Pradeep Vaidya’s Marathi adaptation, Ek Rikaami Baaju, revolves around Ritu, a young woman who is detected with cancer in her left breast.

The disease reverses the world around her — a malignant lump changes the equations with those closest to her, even women.

The play travels through various time zones and locations to present various small scenes that culminate at a point.

Kudos to the director for creating the right ambience — especially that of the hospital where Ritu undergoes her breast surgery.

Similarly interesting was the scene where Ritu joins office after her mastectomy.

While most colleagues she had known for years are guarded, a young man — new to the office — proposes to her.

He tells a surprised Ritu that she is still a complete woman for him.

Director Aniruddha Khutwad stuns the audience by using three actors for 16 different roles.

The scene designs are intelligent and innovative.

There is not a single moment of glitch though Geetanjali Kulkarni, who played the role of protagonist Ritu, and Veena Jamkar and Padmanabh Bind, portrayed all the 16 male and female characters.

Special mention must be made of Kulkarni, who brought a rare intensity to the character of Ritu.

The use of minimum set-props added to the effect.

The music and light by a reputed Mumbai-based designer were flawless.

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