BASKET OF DOLLS
It is for children to play with dolls. In this play a girl Luwangbi and her friend play with their dolls called Thoinu and Luwangba. The play reflects the culture, politics and violence against women of the region. The dolls enact an old story which was a conspiracy hatched between the Burmese army and prince Koirengba who forcibly wants to marry a beautiful married woman called Thoinu. Luwangba, Thoinu’s husband who is the protagonist of the play dies heroically and honorably in the battle. Their small son is buried alive in order to check the overflowing water in the spate of flood. The masquerade gang of Koringba is unable to preserve the chastity of Thoinu. The play shows the courage and patriotism of the Meitei women (Manipuri women). It concludes metaphorically with a belief that if the dolls are not properly kept in their place, they appear in dreams, crying and weeping.
This play deals with the situation after the historical event of the battle of Manipur and Myanmar. We say that children reflect the society in their activity and the games they play. In this play, children play with their dolls in which they put up the socio-economic, cultural and political issues that they see in their daily life. The dolls represent the characters and the basket represents the society metaphorically.
The play also attempts to show the condition of the people, crime against women and children at the time of war as well as the power game in the society. This power play is happening since the reign of Kings. Through this power they treat people brutally. Women and children are the worst affected. Nowadays, the armed men are in power. They exercise their power according to their will. Koirengba symbolizes the man in power. In the children’s game, the way the doll is discarded after the play, so is Thoinu, who is raped brutally, and discarded by the gang of Koirengba.
The play shows us the effect of war on children. Today children, who are the pillars of the nation, are gradually getting trapped into the inhuman situation. They are losing their feelings, hope in humanity and their peace of mind, which is not a good sign for the future. The original text has been edited heavily and made concise. It has been put together in a symbolic and stylized form with the help of music and choreography, sustaining the whole essence of the original text.
Oasis Sougaijam has worked with different theatre directors and choreographers. He has been trained in Manipuri Martial Arts for five years under the guidance of Chingtham Ranjit and also in Manipuri folk dance under the guidance of Nameirakpam Tiken Singh.
He graduated from National School of Drama (NSD) in 2014 with the specialization in Theatre Techniques & Design. During the course of National School of Drama he assisted prominent theatre directors of India and abroad.
R.K. Leingaklembi is a well known playwright, poet and social activist. She writes both stage and radio plays. Her radio play Ibengi Tampakta Lotluro received National award of all Indian competition. Leingaklembi’s plays attempt different themes working mainly for the weaker section and natural environment. Her play Laidhi Lubak (Basket of Dolls) has been staged at different theatres and has also been made into a movie. She was a junior fellow of Ministry of Culture Govt. of India. As a social activist she works for woman empowerment and to help unrest in the society.
This play is being presented as part of the National School of Drama’s Graduate Showcase (Class of 2014), which aims to provide a platform for emerging theatre practitioners, while allowing them to share their work with a wide audience.