The beginning, and the end
An evening by theatre artistes will highlight Girish Karnad's seminal contribution to playwriting through the dramatised reading of his first and last play
In 1960, a 22-year-old on his way to England on a Rhodes scholarship on the University of Oxford, wrote a play that harnessed the definition of desire to a whole nother level. Performed across the country and translated into multiple languages, late playwright Girish Kanad's Yayati is a retelling of an epic where a king cursed to old age for sexual misdemeanor takes the youth of his own son. This evening, the play comes to life as theatre artistes including Lovleen Mishra, Sunil Shanbag, Sapan Saran, and Rajit Kapur take the stage for dramatised readings of Yayati as well as Karnad's last play Crossing to Talikota, written in 2018 as he struggled with his health. Thus, the event has been aptly named BookEnds - signifying the vast body of work in between these two texts.
"As soon as he passed away, in the theatre fraternity you had informal readings in people's homes as well as formal ones. Though, I don't think the younger theatre artistes are aware of his work. We had also thought about it but took our time because we had to think of what would make sense to our space as well. So, BookEnds has been in the works for about three weeks," Shanbag says, proceeding to elaborate on the differences between the two plays. "While Yayati is a classical text, Crossing to Talikota is more theatrical where the language is slightly more formal but is layered with meaning - you know, the words on paper mean well but sound like a threat."
Shanbag states that a crucial aspect to Karnad's work was his ability to look for relevance in history. "With the intense materialism seen in the world today, Yayati becomes a larger philosophical thought, as it is really about desire. I feel it will be relevant at any point in time."
On July 4 and 5, 7 pm to 9 pm
At Studio Tamaasha, Lokhandwala, Andheri West.
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