Revisiting Girish Karnad

Published: Dec 18, 2011, 09:11 IST | Aditi Sharma |

Director Pushan Kriplani explores Hayavadana for the third time in a decade, along with co-director Arghya Lahiri. Catch the classic today at KR Cama hall

Director Pushan Kriplani explores Hayavadana for the third time in a decade, along with co-director Arghya Lahiri. Catch the classic today at KR Cama hall

Answering the first, most basic, question -- Why Hayavadana? -- director Pushan Kriplani, one half of the director-duo heading The Industrial Theatre Company and Black Boxers' new production, says, "Ask a real question." We insist on an answer though. Surely, there's an interesting story behind why he goes back to Girish Karnad's classic Hayavadana time and again. In the past 10 years, he tells us, he has dealt with the script three times. This time Arghya Lahiri, his co-director, will share the challenge. Both consider "the (rehearsal) room" a revered space and are thrilled with the quality of their crew's work. In appreciation, the team has full access to the espresso machine at Kriplani's place and he's also hosted a Burger Night for them. "That's the only reason the actors joined up. You can't pay them what they're actually worth, so you feed the s**t out of them," he laughs. Excerpts from an interview:

Director duo Arghya Lahiri and Pushan Kriplani.
PIC/ Nimesh Dave

Why Hayavadana?
PK: It's a good script. The only reason we do any theatre at all is the text and what we're able to do with it. I've done it twice before, this is the third time and I keep coming back to it. The story is not over for me.
AL: There is something about the innate theatricality of the text because of Karnad's preoccupation with folk theatre and Yakshagana. There's so much in one show -- dolls, clowns, people stepping out of the show... it allows for physicality. There's a lot beyond what is a vital examination of identity and sexuality. I think for Pushan, it's also an uber text that keeps drawing him back. I just like being in a room working with him. Three days before the play was to open, he calls and says, "Ten years after we did the play for the first time, I think I might understand what to do with the second act, properly."
You need to have a lot of belief in your actors to be able to do that...
AL: We believe in these guys entirely �
PK: Also, they need to have the faith that it's the right idea and not the most novel idea. They're a good room and they've done a good job to fill me with those ideas.

How do you come to a consensus?
PK: Basically, he just beats me over the head with a large stick! No, we haven't had any fights �
AL:We fight all the time. But they are restricted to the ideas or the direction we want to take. We've grown in a way in which our strengths and weaknesses compliment each other. He's able to leap up and run with an idea and I'm seeking something grounded always. When it works, it's good tension.
PK: When it comes to the text we're actually without ego. We've directed some plays together and I have a great deal of respect for Arghya's work.
AL: There will always be a point during rehearsal when one person is walking around with his jaw tightly clenched. But you move forward.
PK: You hold grudges for two days!
AL: It's very close to being an excellent working relationship, it helps that we're very close friends outside the theatre, but it's not the easiest thing in the world. It requires a certain amount of discipline.
PK: It's sexual!!! That's what it is...

At: 7 pm, December 18, K R Cama Hall, Kala Ghoda
Call: 22843893

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