A dark, ramshackle house with a neglected garden is hosting a sinister party, in the play Comedy About the End of the World. In the gathering are an old woman, a reincarnated playwright, a social activist, who has emerged from hiding with a changed name and a man who is pursuing him. Into this setting, well-known Slovenian playwright Evald Flisar introduces discussions about research and commerce, principles and art. The text has been adapted by city-based Yatrik theatre group into an hour-and-a-half-long production that will be staged today at Shri Ram Centre.
Director Avijit Dutt says that he had extensive conversations with the playwright Flisar. “He is one of the celebrated playwrights of Slovenia, which doesn’t matter to most Indians because we hardly know about Slovenia. But, as I read Flisar’s works, I became interested in the opposing realities that meet at the same time and space,” says Dutt. Comedy About the End of the World is a “farce about a farce, within which is a further farce” he says. One character claims to be British playwright Joe Orton, who was murdered in 1967, while another calls himself Majerhold, after the Russian theatre director Vsevolod Emilevich Meyerhold, who died in 1940.
“We are forced to ask what is real, who is genuine and who is undercover. Above all, whether the end of the world is an approaching reality or merely a behind-the-scenes battle between different interest groups — a battle in which revolutionary scientists and exploitative profiteers alike are operating underground,” says Dutt, who also essays the role of Majerhold. Pranay Manchanda is the hot-headed young Joe Orton while the older and intense Oroon Das is the man who is hunting for Majerhold. Vidushi Mehra, at 35, plays the old woman, who owns the ramshackle house and is a nymphomaniac. “In the battle between principled innovators and unscrupulous profiteers, the latter will triumph,” says Dutt.
The play will travel to Slovenia next year as part of a festival being organised by the Slovene government to celebrate the 70th birthday
The play will be staged at Shri Ram Centre today at 6.30 pm. Tickets available at the venue and Bookmyshow