Three benches for three – yet no space – a scene from ‘The Park’
The 13th Bharat Rang Mahotsva has started with fanfare. Although the city of Delhi is freezing with severe cold, the theatre lovers are daring with enthusiasm to watch the plays. Even those who can’t get ticket or passes, can enjoy food with fire in The Foodhub, which serves delicious kababs and momos . But let us talk about theatre instead of cold and food.
In Sriram Centre, on 8th of January, `The Park’, jointly written and directed by Manav Kaul and Kumud Mishra, witnessed a houseful of appreciative audience.
`The Park’ is a play of just four characters, mainly three, who come in a public park during daytime. of course reasons for their coming to the park are different. One wants to spend some leisure time, the second one to have a nap on a bench and the third one, to watch a woman after she has had a shower.
There are three benches in the park, so there should be no problem for separate and independent spaces for them. But the problem starts when all of them want a particular bench for themselves. No one wants to leave his preferred bench. They argue and fight over their `rights’. The play starts as a comedy but slowly and gradually it becomes serious. Laughter disappears and serious identity issues appear. Right over the bench becomes a bone of contention between them. The burning topics of displacement and dislocation of people, the Indian adivasis, the Palestinians, the Israelis come in foreground and in the process a comedy turns black. The play becomes a metaphor. A metaphor for struggles of indigenous people fighting for their demands in many parts of the world . Who has the right of land where Israel exists today? The Israelis, who are there today or the Palestinians, who are displaced? What is the basis of their rights? Who has the rights in Mumbai? Does the marathi speaking person have more rights there than those who don’t know this language? These issues come during their arguments.
As the arguments go further, tension develops and all of them start fighting among themselves. the dialogue is broken. This shows how we, human beings, don’t settle our differences amicably and democratically. This is not happening only in India, but everywhere.
`The Park’ ends on positive note and initiates a process to think about how we bear our children. What is the state of our education system? The actors gave commendable performances.