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Spotlight on Brain theatre

All that makes us who we are depend on the functioning of roughly a kilogram of fat and protein — the human brain. Debesh Chattopadhyay’s play Brain, premiering on Sunday at 7pm at the Academy of Fine Arts, records a theatre worker’s fascination with this organ.

The play has evolved from Debesh’s research for a culture ministry fellowship on “Cognitive neuroscience and theatre”. But the focus here is also on the fragility of human relationships. The play presents a triangle between Santanu (played by Pijush Ganguly), his wife Damini (Bidipta Chakrabarty) and mutual friend Sarbajit (Neel Mukhopadhyay). Sarbajit and Damini are lovers, willing to divorce their spouses and marry.

The curtains rise just past an intimate moment between Sarbajit and Damini. Santanu walks in, but he is too preoccupied with his research on brain functions to notice that his marital life has gone awry. The guilty pair tries to cover up by feigning interest in Santanu’s work. But when Santanu tries to illustrate how a person’s thoughts, memories, attitude can be read from his or her unconscious gestures, Sarbajit and Damini’s secrets tumble out. From jokes to friendly banter, detection of untruths, embarrassment, fear of discovery to even threats — the mood changes swiftly.

The play, a part of Sansriti’s 19th birthday bash, has sets designed by Hiran Mitra, lights by Sudip Sanyal and music by Mayukh Mainak.

Celebrations begin at the same venue at noon on Sunday with shows of Minerva Theatre Repertory’s Debi Sarpamasta, Sansriti’s Bikele Bhorer Shorshephul and Krishnakali by Alternative Living Theatre. The festival, which will also run at other venues like Sisir Mancha, Tripti Mitra Sabhagar of the Paschimbanga Natya Akademi and Minerva till February 19, is dedicated to the memory of Keya Chakraborty.