Sunday 28 April 2024

"In the presence of absence": a drama based on the poems of Mahmoud Darwish staged on 14.4.2024 in Bandra (Mumbai)

 The stolen orchard

( हिंदी में समीक्षा के लिए -   यहाँ क्लिक करके क्रम सं. 47 देखिए )

"The war will end
The leaders will shake hands
The old woman will keep waiting for her martyred son
That girl will wait for her beloved husband
And those children will wait for their heroic father
I don't know who sold our homeland
But I saw who paid the price..."

A dramatical version of the poems and prosody by Mahmoud Darwish was presented by Dr. Omkar Bhatkar and group at SAPP, Bandra (Mumbai) on 14.4.2024.

If you are there as a noman witnessing your clan being purged, all of your grievances are just a cry in the wilderness and still you can view your society, your culture, your habitats might be as absent ones then you are none other than Mahmoud Darwish and the vitals of your passionate statements is called "The Presence of Absence".

The pain is so profound and consistent that it transform into solace. The representation is so true that  gives a sense to balm to the sufferer. The poet is so passionate about his culture and community life that he feels it in all its ramification even on the patches where it has been completely wiped out by the atrocious miliary regime. 

"Write down!
I am an Arab
You have stolen the orchards of my ancestors
And the land which I cultivated
Along with my children
And you left nothing for us
Except for these rocks..
So will the State take them
As it has been said?!.."

The saga of seclusion and identity crisis is not limited to a place. People experiencing this kind of atrocities in other countries can also relate themselves to it as well. And this is the main reason behind the acclaim for Darwish.

The poems of Mahmoud Darwish encompasses such an unfathomable depth of sorrow and mass devastation that cannot be dealt with in this short article I can only say that Dr. Bhatkar's team was able to put it on stage the nectar of that through their presentation. The other actors were Rekha Shetty, Sharmila Velaskar Kadne, Salome Raye who also gave their significant contribution in terms of acting.

The whole presentation was replete of ethnic Arab contents in every respect- costumes, gait, gestures, language and history. The supple, nimble  body movements and gesture of Dr. Omkar Bhatkar who was the main presenter was rather stunning to me. I had not thought that a person so deeply immersed in literature can also be proficient in dancing gestures which were quite difficult. Dr. Bhatkar is rarely versatile artist who doesnot only perform but also conceives the whole idea of presentation. And the gamut of his presentation is so large - poem to acting,, painting to acting, pure drama of all modern genres, poem recitals and much more. Once more specialty I find in his presentation is that the viewers are also made a part of it. Even their sitting arrangement is planned in a manner that they experience the comfort and difficulty synchronised with the main theme of the play. Kudos to Dr. Bhatkar for this all-engrossing eclectic approach of presentation.

(Note: The reporter and this blog are in favour of peace for all including Palestine and Israel. Though this article deals with only one poet who is a globally renowned Palestine poet.)
Report by- Hemant Das 'Him'
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