Dubai, Mar 18: As announced in this columns earlier, Kannada theatre lovers in the UAE will get a rare opportunity to watch high quality Kannada drama written by internationally acclaimed writer Girish Karnad.
'Bali' will be staged on Friday March 22 at the Emirates Theatre (Emirates International School), Umm Suqueim, Dubai. Entry will be free.
Dhwani Pratistana, headed by Prakash Payyar will stage this drama by amateur artistes from Dubai.
Bali: The Sacrifice – The plot
The Sacrifice comprises of four charactersn- the Queen, the King, the Queen-Mother and the Mahout. The Queen is a Jain and she marries a Hindu King. Out of love for his spouse, the King converts to Jainism but is unable to come to terms with the new faith. Jainism dictates non-violence and Hinduism believes in the practice of sacrifice or bali, which means violence. The Queen-Mother is a devout Hindu who believes in sacrifices. The King vacillates from one end to the other, from Hinduism to Jainism, from the Queen-Mother to his wife but is unable to settle down with any faith.
In the climactic event of the play, the Queen enchanted by the beautiful voice of a low caste, ugly Mahout, the Elephant-Keeper, and mates with him. Soon after, the incident comes to the knowledge of the King and the Queen-Mother. Being a Jain, the King cannot indulge in violence by killing the Mahout and avenging the wrong of desecrating the sanctity of marital bond. The question which haunts the King and the Queen-Mother is how to placate the gods and goddesses for this act of sin. Finally the Queen-Mother tells the King that to placate for the sin committed, a sacrifice has to be made. The Queen does not want to indulge in this mock sacrifice but is forced to by the King. The question posed is whether intended violence is as offensive as real violence—whether the thought of mock-sacrifice is equivalent to actual sacrifice.
Bali: The Script
The Sacrifice was first brought out in Kannada in 1980 by the name of 'Hittina Hunja', but was not translated in English at that time. The source of the play is an ancient Kannada epic, Yashodhara Charite, which itself draws on several other sources. The play is one that has multiple ideological issues. Though based on an ancient Kannada epic, the story, characters and incidents are often overshadowed by overt ideological concerns as relevant today as they were many centuries ago. The play is a treatise on the viability of violence and non-violence in the present scenario.
Cast and crew:
Four main characters will be enacted by some of UAE’s most prolific stage artistes - Dony Correa, Asha Correa, Prabhakar Kamath and Gopika Mayya, who have already proved their acting skills in Kannada plays such as ‘Nagamandala’, ‘Hayavadana’, ‘Ashadhada Ondu Dina’. The act is ably directed by Prakash Rao Payyar. Music is provided by Arun Carlo and Dinesh Correa will provide technical backup to the play.
"The original is a massive epic moving through several rebirths. Its basic aim is to teach the superiority of Jain values. My play takes place on a single location in 90 minutes. It is concentrated, as a play has to be. I am not a Jain. In fact I am not religious. But I am fascinated by the psychological as well as the philosophical resonance of the myth." - GIRISH KARNAD
“The play offers a fresh perspective of approach vis-à-vis man’s psychological struggle and manoeuvres. It presents the cultural, moral and religious dialogic in the context of the warfare between the losing grounds of reality and conscious right to social survival—a conflict between the effete essentialist position and the conceptualized work of living” - ANSHUMAN KHANNA
“The play is a tribute to astuteness and sensitivity of Mahatama Gandhi that he saw so clearly the insistence of non-violence to the cultural and political survival of India” - GIRISH KARNAD
For more details, contact: Telephone: 050-6976081, 050-7643774