When director professor Waman Kendre first thought of staging an adaptation of Sanskrit playwright Bhasa’s Madhyam Vyayog in Marathi, little did he know that convinced by friends in the fraternity, he will put up the show in three different languages on the same day and stage.
“This production is a great experiment and challenge for me. We kept on improvising everyday till we reached where we have,” says he. The play will be staged as Priya Bawari in Marathi, Mohe Piya in Hindi and O My Love in English today at NCPA. Adapted from an ancient Sankskrit script, the story revolves around the relationship between Bhima, his wife Hidimba and son Ghatotkacha.
Leaving no scope for any language barrier, professor Kendre believes that the production is a high point in his 30-year career as a theatre person, “I realised that I wanted to do something for the larger audience. With performances in three languages, the audience also multiplies. I am happy to have achieved something unusual and unique,” says the director, who had staged a production of Madhyaym Vyayog eight years ago. “That production was very different from the one we are going to perform today. This one is a more liberal interpretation of the texts. Timeless subjects like power play in politics and relationships are discussed in the production. In fact, the original script is only seven to eight pages long, but our performance duration is about 90 minutes.”
Kendre also believes that although the text belongs to a different era that existed around 2,500 years ago, the issues they deal with are relevant today as well. Says he, “The characters may be mythological but they tell all have something to tell us. For example, Hidimba was very progressive character whose thoughts were ahead of her times. She even talks about things like live-in-relationships and contract marriage in this story,” adding “with this production, I am trying to revive the forgotten genre of Indian classical theatre.”