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regular-article-logo Tuesday, 16 July 2024

Immersive acts

Taqdeer, written and directed by Krishnendu Bhowmik, is a dark and brooding tale of love, betrayal and death

Dipankar Sen Published 08.06.24, 10:27 AM
A moment from Taqdeer by Minerva Repertory.

A moment from Taqdeer by Minerva Repertory.

Three productions mounted by the current crop of students of the Minerva Repertory were reviewed in this column a couple of months ago; this review will focus on the final two productions from the same classroom, Taqdeer and Song of No Man’s Land.

Taqdeer (photo), written and directed by Krishnendu Bhowmik, is a dark and brooding tale of love, betrayal and death. Visually, the set design conjures up an urban wasteland replete with markers of abject deprivation and, very interestingly, a ringing and insistent sound of water dripping from a height into a metal pan pierces through the gloom, suggesting a stubborn struggle to survive. The three actors, Chiranjit Das, Sujan Ghosh and Mrinal Mukhopadhyay, turn in deeply moving performances that get under the skin of the audience members, deliberately disturbing their sangfroid. Sharp political critique combines with moments of stirring melodrama to keep the audience tightly engaged with the action unfolding on the stage. The scene in which a character, stoned out of his mind, begins to psychotically eat scraps of paper is quite unsettling.

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Song of No Man’s Land, dramatised by Bidisha Ghosh with cues from a José Donoso short story, has been directed by Sumit Dey. Ghosh has to be credited for being able to preserve the quirky, fabulous quality that is the signature of the best of Latin American literature. After a very protracted and slow-moving beginning, the play gained enough steam with the introduction of the protagonist, Sebastian (played with remarkable finesse by Arindam Sardar), to move smoothly towards its conclusion. Sebastian’s penchant for sleeping through the day can be read as an allegory for a mode of existence that is pointedly and studiedly at odds with the notion of capitalist productivity. Sumit Dey’s fine grasp of stagecraft is evident in the creative use of the diagonals of the stage to suggest depth and distance and in the striking visuals fashioned out of innovative permutations of stage elements.

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