Maaro Piyo Gayo Rangoon vibrations had not yet subsided when Fanatika’s Jaagine Joun To caught the imagination of its viewers and they gave it a spontaneous standing ovation – a rare gesture to a mere vachikam. Add to this, glimpses of the verve of yore coming back to plays by Chorus, Gujarati theatre seems set to rise again with vigour – a development that invigorates theatre-lovers like this writer.
As for the intrinsic worth of the play on Narasimh Mehta in elegant Jhulana, playwright Sitanshu Yashashchandra with his characteristic modesty gave credit to the poet’s verbal power and his indomitable revolting spirit. He termed his intervention minimalist. This minimalist approach in fact comes across to the audience exhilaratingly!
Ante to hemanu-n hema hoye! With the paarasmani touch of poetry, its rhythm and resonance, the aadi kavi embraces Krishna, the all-pervading divinity. So does the contemporary poet. Of imagination and creativity are both compact! At one end of the spectrum we have an artless description of creepers and flowers and humming bhramaras. At this end we have a disarming contemporary touch in taahara baapanu-n shun-y jaaya? besides the basic interpretation of the unassuming poet and his great work.
For theatre, the most heartening mentionable is the appreciation of these subtly beautiful aspects and their audible, visual (read joyously pleasing) and soulful transfer to theatre that has the audience humming, clapping and being palpably responsive in silence. The director has the run-on lines dramatically divided and distributed for the daring and dedicated dozen players now to sing, now to interject as in real life, now to render them with fine modulation - getting gestures, facial expression, and sparingly the harmonium in support.
Let us look forward to a full stage version of the verse play with a little more attention to verbal and rhythmic precision and innovative resourceful action. Challenging but not impossible. If they could scale this height, why not a notch higher?
S. D. DesaiAhmedabad, 30 August 2012