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Monday, July 23, 2018

Lost in Translation

Had there not been the introduction of the play’s background by director Pawel Passini...

Written by Siddhartha Mathur | Published: January 13, 2009 5:48:46 am

Polish play fails to move

Had there not been the introduction of the play’s background by director Pawel Passini,the eager audience gathered at the UPSNA auditorium to watch Polish presentation ‘The Rest’ on Monday evening would’ve never known what it was about. Part of the ongoing Bharat Rang Mahotsav,the play narrated nothing,in spite of the translation of the dialogue flashed on a screen beside the stage.

As Passini said before the play began—and in English,mercifully —it was about Stanislaw Wyspianski,Polish artist,who defied social mores to marry a peasant girl and how his offsprings bore the brunt after his death in that while his work was lauded and preserved by museums,they had to grapple with misery. Two of his sons were sent to the mental asylum,one went to war and only his daughter upheld his name by championing social causes.

The script was a mess. A plot of clay was laid out on the stage and throughout the play,characters kept scampering on it wailing like banshees. The music being played live on the stage by a key artiste was as coherent as the rest of the play and dialogue translation flashed on the screen made absolutely no sense. Yet,the absurdity was suffered by a patient and hospitable audience,not wanting to disappoint the guest performers. Towards the end,one of the artistes reciprocated by breaking impromptu into the hit Hindi film song ‘Bole choodiyan,bole kangana…le ja,le ja’. This absurdity just fit into the entire show and was met with a generous applause. What’s more,when the cast and director came up on stage to give the final bow,they received a standing ovation.

Such response should lay to rest whatever misgivings organisers National School of Drama may have about Lucknowites being indifferent/apathetic to theatre. They had better be more discerning about selecting the plays to be staged in the city in future programmes.

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