Beyond the Number Game

Beyond the Number Game

Mohit Takalkar on his play, Mathemagician, which is being staged at the 20th Bharat Rang Mahotsav in Delhi.

bharat rang mahotsav, national school of drama, nsd delhi, mohit takalkar, mathemagician, play, gowri ramnarayan, indian express news
A scene from Mathemagician.

Mohit Takalkar is the master of the big play — large of cast, epic in narrative and ambitious in treatment. Then, suddenly, in 2018, he filled the stage with only one diminutive actor. “I wanted to do a solo so that I could work with one body, one voice, one actor. I was absolutely lost as to where to place the actor on stage and what to do with her.

This was the challenge that made me do the play,” says Takalkar.

The play, Mathemagician, has been selected for the 20th Bharat Rang Mahotsav (BRM), organised by the National School of Drama, in Delhi. Based on a script by Gowri Ramnarayan, Mathemagician has the darkness of a Greek tragedy. It is set in Babylon, the commercial capital of the ancient world, in 500 CE, where a young boy Nikor has been castrated and sold into slavery by his father. Nikor, with his sharp mind, rises to the position of the Chief Mathematician, but, despite his great fame and wealth, he cannot forget his childhood friend, Salla, who is now married. Meanwhile, Persia is laying siege to the kingdom and Nikor takes a step that can only cover the stage in the blood. “The violence called to me and we decided that we had to say something about this. The mind of a genius, how does it work and where can it go? Those were the interest points for me,” says Takalkar, who gender bends by casting Ipshita Chakraborty Singh as the eunuch Nikor.

The play will be staged on Feb 2 at Abimanch. BRM is from Feb 1-21