India’s ‘Silicon Valley’ comes to town next week as Delhi plays host to Bengaluru playwright Ram Ganesh Kamatham’s city trilogy. Dancing On Glass (DoG) (2004), Creeper (2007) and Bust (2010) will be staged on 16, 17 and 18 July, respectively, in the capital before moving on to Mumbai.
Bengaluru is the common theme. “It has become a hub of a sudden influx of all types of cultures especially of the BPOs and they’ve changed the landscape of the city,” says the playwright who started out at the age of 16 with a spoof on Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Twelve years later, Kamatham has over 15 plays to his credit, most of them dealing with contemporary themes.
“I’m interested in the problems of young urban people, especially the underbelly of progressive, techno-savvy twenty-first century India and the culture clash of ancient and modern India,” says Ganesh.
His current trilogy looks at the dark side of call centres in DoG, an urbanisation of the mythical Vikram and Betal in Creeper and a trio’s search for an ancient relic with the city as backdrop in Bust. DoG was an immediate reaction in 2004 to the economic and cultural changes in the city as they were unfolding through the story of a call-centre employee and a software engineer. Creeper continued the thread as an experimental piece in 2007, where Kamatham transposed myths in an urban setting, using their tale as a narrative to look at symbiotic or parasitic relationships.
Bust, takes off from there and traces the journey of three women. Mallika Prasad, one of the two actors of Bust calls the work a treasure hunt where the women are searching for their identity and a relic. “The two of us play three women, where the third woman is like an alter ego to the two.”
Deepika Arwind, who plays an academic, says the challenge for her was the personal fight for an identity set against the backdrop of a city they call home. “The trilogy has been a work in progress for all of us. We are all looking for the same thing.”