Theatre is transcendental. Just like experiencing ‘Brahman’.
Primordial Theatre was used to communicate with the Gods. It seems that the notions of God and performance were born together. What was the pressing need for these creations? One common answer could be to search for an abstraction named ‘Truth’. While ritualistic theatre has thinned a lot, the basic purpose with which theatre began has not changed. The search for Truth.
Oglam and Oglam in collaboration with Padatik had maintained that pursuit. Reflections, Adalate Flounder, Ha Radhe, Bhool Rasta, Beyond Freud and Hayavadana were significant journeys in that direction. Krshno Pokkho – Darkness Intercepted is a walk uphill from our last station. Technically, my last plays explored the text in as many ways possible in a given space. From Raganuraga Bhakti (Ha Radhe) to the hybrid nature of our existence (Hayavadana), all had a strong text as the source of our essential performance. The beginning was the written material. We also tried to interpret the material physically.
However, Krshno Pokkho is a trip other way round. We had the design first. The task was to build the text in the space with the crew member as our primary raw material conforming to the design. The available cast and the source book, Raja, were our tools. We gradually explored the space in the designed way with a skeletal frame of a text and then eventually moved into a permanent worded material. Mayuri Mitra, belonging to a different school of theatre (Sundaram), was a new addition to our experimentation. With her experienced text-depended theatre skills she was a challenge to our fragile texted exploration of the space. It was a mutual discovery of new belief systems and understanding. Debkumar Paul, before leaving for Canada, seeded the physical aspect of the body dynamics in space and consequently we framed our own realization by interpolating text in it. Music was also a very early introduction to our work process. While Debuda exhibited his colossal repository of music, I carved it sharper for the play. Music is almost a character in the production guiding the actors into the complex labyrinth of emotions. Partha Majumder created symbolic props. We fashioned a moving space. As I had insisted on rolling materials (as per the design) he almost got everything on the wheels. The entire movement and shifting was like random images moving in our mind, overlapped, interlinked, juxtaposed or jumbled. Light was a major involvement in this play on obscurity. Uttio Jana enhanced the magic and used light less and darkness more as his guiding thought. He created darkness of diverse quality with his resources. The only challenge was to separate the real from the illusion and he came up with the idea of using the follow-light with a completely different tonal quality.
Finally, when my script got its shape my actors had difficulty in dwelling in three states of existence at the same time. The Truth, the Real and the Illusion; the actor, the character and the protagonist’s strong imaginary world. The play dealt with these three states simultaneously, so, it was a serious concern for all of us to define the difference and at the same time pronounce it well for the audience. We started pointing out specific areas to create such signaling points: the ‘point’ where we transmute. Travel from one state to the other. Was that a pure experience? Transcendental ??????
– Janardan Ghosh