Journey to Daakghar explores why Rabindranath Tagores famous play Dak Ghar shook the fascist rulers during World War II
In 1911,still grieving after the death of his young son who had died a few years ago,Rabindranath Tagore wrote a play called Dak Ghar,about a young boy with an incurable disease. Confined indoors,the child Amal imagines himself as a wanderer,perhaps as the royal postman who travels far and wide. And he waits for the king to send his personal physician to cure him. The physician does arrive but by that time,Amal has fallen asleep. Such a simple play,yet it made the fascist rulers of World War II (WW II) deeply concerned? wonders Kolkata-based theatre director Manish Mitra. His play Journey to Dakghar attempts to explain why. Journey to Daakghar,a contender for Best Play and Best Director at the ongoing Mahindra Excellence in Theatre Awards (META),will be staged at Delhis Sri Ram Centre on March 4.
The play in Bengali and English travels down history,revealing surprising details about how Tagores work had touched lives down the years. For instance,French author André Gide had read out a French translation of Dak Ghar on radio the evening before Paris fell to the Nazis during WW II. At the Warsaw Ghetto in Poland,a doctor and teacher Janusz Korczak had staged the play with orphans,three weeks before they were to be deported to the gas chambers. When Korczak was questioned,he responded,Eventually one has to accept serenely,the angel of death. Thats what the play does,it makes one powerful by humbling death, says Mitra.
Apart from its political and cultural history,Mitras play packs in music and many lines from Tagores Dakghar. Interestingly,the two-hour play is a collaborative effort a genre where every member of a group,right from the lighting assistants to the main actors develops the script and the action together. The best collaborative plays are remarkable for their completeness with acting,direction and other aspects complementing one another. Fittingly,Journey to Daakghar has also been nominated for Best Stage Design,Best Lighting Design,Best Innovative Sound Design,Best Costume Design and Best Ensemble.
Journey to Daakghar will be staged at Sri Ram Centre on March 4,5 pm.