The Rotary Club Chandigarh Mid Town, in its first ever initiative, staged a play titled Where There Is A Will by famous playwright Mahesh Dattani at the Law Auditorium in Panjab University. The play was staged to raise money for one of the pilot projects of Rotary Club Chandigarh Mid Town — eradication of TB, an extremely ambitious project of the club. The money raised through this production will be utilised for funding medicines and food for TB patients. It is for the first time that Rotary Mid Town is using theatre as a medium for a social cause. The play is directed by the students of Department of English, PU, and the cast is also drawn largely from there. The production has been put together under the patronage of Prof Rana Nayar.
“Where there is a will” is a drawing room comedy of a rich businessman who controls his family through money and loses a chance to develop meaningful, interpersonal relationships and becomes a victim of his own machinations governed by his desire for power.
It is a play driven by humour and even the names of the characters are paradoxical to their personalities. Hasmukh is anything but joyful, Sonal is anything but gold. Ajit is contrary to his strong, muscular, war hero like name and Preeti is beautiful but sly. The play seeks to recreate many idiosyncrasies of a typical Indian household, and hence it is both introspective and thought-provoking. Dattani himself called it an ‘exorcism of the patriarchal code’. He analyses the dependence of women on men and also what happens when they are pushed to the edge. The play presents a sketch of the domineering patriarch who wishes for everything to go how he wants it, even after his death.
The students have spent almost three months in preparing the play, much of which was given to understanding the characters and to develop ease and familiarity with their on-stage persona. For the entire cast it has been an extremely enriching experience, and the actors are thrilled that they performed for a social cause.