Each and every thing about this play is full of discomfort and the takeaway is "Life is a saga of absurd banality in the most grotesque form".
Hey! I truly mean the above statement. But what is more important is that the very objective of this play was to give a feel of disgust to the viewers. The play written by Samuel Becket and directed by Sonu Pilania belonged to the absurdity genre.
The drama-architecture reflected uneasiness and discomfort in all dimensions of the deliverables right from the sitting arrangement of the viewers, there were no chairs and you had to sit on lengthy wooden blocks. None of the four characters in the play had even traces of charm in look, gait or mannerism. No character showed any love or sympathy for each other though the servant seems to be obedient enough so as to secure his job there.
Two characters don't have any leg, one has a crippled leg causing consistent problem in walking and on top of this the one who is the main character (you may say) is blind, crippled and his body oozing out the blood slowly as is evident from his red-stained shawl. And the same condition prevailed throughout the play. I mean the set of discomfiture you see in the beginning is there to remain up to the very last scene and there is no scene even as a flash-back without the aforesaid discomfiture. The pet-dog which the wheel-chaired man (main character) asks to get him is in fact a stuffed toy without a leg. The mother and father of the wheel-chaired man are kept in two separate dustbins and though after lapse of considerable time, they pop out their heads and converse to each other but are not able to kiss each other because of physical separation. The servant has an obscure sexual identity as he is seen worn with feminine attires but is in fact is a man. When the master (the wheel-chaired man) asks him to help him sit properly in a central position, the servant retorts that he is unable to touch him. Rather he moves the wheel-chair round the room so that the master may feel that he is sitting in a proper posture.
During the whole duration of the play, none came in and no one went out from the room. Nothing specific took place other than some of the hot conversation on trifle matters.
The typical display of this aversive feel was in the very outset and persisted through the end of the play. The servant is seen to move the curtain of windows. And for this which should have been the simplest job in our households, the servant had to drag a heavy wooden ladder, then fit that in operation, then climb up many steps on that and then he somehow became able to move the curtain and make the sunlight enter the room.
Though the servant is taking care of his boss to a large extent it is explicit that he is just posing to obey him without any sort of humane attachment. The boss keeps on asking the servant why he turns up each time he whistles up to call him? The servant replies, "I don't know why?" Ultimately, on a day the servant concludes that he have had enough of it and pretends to leave the master. The master is convinced that the only supporting hand to him, the servant has deserted him for ever and throws away the whistle which he used to call the servant. It can be understood that he did not live further without the care. The servant had not left the room. And after the demise of the master and all, he keeps on living in the room alone absolutely without any interaction with anybody. His life is now a pretentiously happy life. He again opens the two windows facing a lot of difficulties and pretend to laugh. Removing the covers of the dustbins, he peeps inside of them and again pretends to laugh. If we think deeply this is strangely similar to the life nowadays people want to live - a completely hollow life bereft of humane values and feelings but seemingly a happy life.
The director Sonu Pilania has tried his best to maintain the sobriety and eeriness maintained throughout the play. The theme of absurdness is not very popular in India so it must have been a mammoth challenge for Sonu to put this well-known bizarre play on stage with full vigour of all the deliverables like set-design, acting and lighting. But he has succeeded to a large extent. Actors in the role of wheel-chaired master and the servant maintained the required tempo in their dialogue-delivery well-supported by the body-postures. The wheel-chaired actor impressed with his countenance. There was a good responsiveness between the actors playing master and the servant. The artists who played the mother and the father had to remain covered up in the dustbins most of the time. But they also impressed particularly on two occasions at least- once when the father expresses his consent to participate in the dialogue only in hope of getting sugar plumes. The other scene which remained in my memory was when the mother and father want to kiss each other and try their best from their respective dustbins but could not reach other just for a few inches.
|Pic of the same play staged by some other group abroad|