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Kurosawa’s Rashomon re-created on stage – The Manipal Journal
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Kurosawa’s Rashomon re-created on stage

Engulfing the ambience with live music and fire, Absolute Dramatics Addiction (ADA) in association with BeTaal staged ‘Rashomon’ directed by Abhinav Grover, a theatre artist and an alumnus of MIT. Performed at the TMA Pai Park Amphitheatre on April 8, the play was a Yakshagana styled drama with the tagline, ‘three men, three lies’.

Use of live fire during a dance sequence in the play by Manikantha, one of the students from the Yakshagana Kendra, Udupi || Photograph Courtesy: Dhruv Khanna

Based on a classic Japanese crime drama film, this theatrical adaptation was directed with both philosophical as well as psychological overtones. The one hour-fifteen minute play drew a student-dominated crowd of around 250 people including Dr G K Prabhu, director, MIT and several other dignitaries.

The priest (Hrishabh Kanti) and woodcutter (Srijan Agarwal) when presented before the court as witnesses of the soldier’s murder and his wife’s rape || Photograph Courtesy: Madhurya Saxena

The play opened with a woodcutter, a bhikshuk (sage) and a teesra aadmi (a commoner) discussing a murder that happened in the jungle. A notorious bandit, Tajomaro was accused to have murdered a soldier and raped his wife. The story revolved around four versions of one story and the ultimate revelation of the truth.

The soldier (Mithil Raj Goswami) and Tajomaro (Praveen Raj), the bandit duelling for the soldier’s wife (Asmitha Reddy) || Photograph Courtesy: Dhruv Khanna

Members of the audience seemed bewildered with four flashbacks of the murder; Tajomaro, the soldier and his wife narrated three different stories of the incident and then the woodcutter revealed the actual story. Although the commoner announced all the stories to be false, the woodcutter’s story was relatively convincing.  Focusing on the essentials of human nature the play explored the facets of truth and how it is altered according to one’s interest. Characters decked up in elaborate attire and make-up, dancing to the tunes of Yakshagana coupled with the Yakshagana Rakshasa backdrop managed to awe the audience.

The helpless wife after getting deserted by her husband in the second version of the incident || Photograph Courtesy: Dhruv Khanna

 

The exorcist (Medha Katiyar) controlling the soldier’s Bhoota (Girish) while the dead soldier possesses him to narrate his version of the story || Photograph Courtesy: Dhruv Khanna 

Aptly portraying the human instincts by highlighting the woodcutter’s theft from the crime scene and his false testimony in the court, the commoner says, “Insaan ki fitrat mein hai jhooth bolna. Insaan agar khud se sach nahin bolta toh doosron se kya bolega!” (It is human to lie. A man lies even to himself, let alone others.)

Commoner (Aaryan Tandon) telling the priest how the three stories narrated by Tajomaro, the soldier and his wife are false || Photograph Courtesy: Madhurya Saxena

Here, the priest is picking up the abandoned child before the woodcutter finally adopts the child || Photograph Courtesy: Madhurya Saxena

Towards the end of the play, the priest seems to lose his faith in humanity after listening to the stories. Quoting him, “Mar kar bhi jhooth bole, insaan itna bura nahin ho sakta.” (A human can’t be bad enough to lie even after death). The cries of an abandoned infant lead to a fight between the woodcutter and the commoner as the latter tries to steal the child’s shawl. The woodcutter later adopts the infant to expiate, hence restoring the priest’s belief in humanity.

Dr GK Prabhu addressing the gathering after the play concluded || Photograph Courtesy: Dhruv Khanna

The event ended on a hopeful note for the student populace as the MIT Director disclosed his intention to include Theatre as an elective subject in the MIT curriculum.

 

Featured Image Courtesy: Dhruv Khanna

 

Edited by Shivani Singh

Purva Pathak

pathak.purva98@gmail.com

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