The stalwarts of Department of Indian Theatre, Chandigarh, man and wife Mahendra Kumar and Shveta, are all set to bring forth their theatre production, Revizor, today at Tagore Theatre, Sector 18.
Not hogging credit, the couple says, “This production was earlier staged at the department by students. Apart from the students who were a part of the play, many others felt that it should be staged again. So, here we are.” Mahendra Kumar, former chairman, Department of Indian Theatre, has directed as well as designed the play, while his better half Shveta, has helped him with the direction and designed the costumes for the play.
Giving us an insight into the comic play by Russian playwright Nikolai Gogol, Kumar adds, “We, as ‘the public’, have become perpetual petitioners in the ‘durbar’ of our chosen administrators, always standing in one or the other queue with an application in hand and a prayer on our lips — may God bring the mighty clerk back to his/her seat and keep him/her in a good mood for our application. That’s exactly what the play is about; a lot of people would relate to it.”
A co-founder of the department and the recipient of National Sangeet Natak Academy Award (2007) from Pratibha Patil, Kumar says, “Theatre is the best way to develop an understanding of life and spread consciousness about human values and behaviour. Be it Shakespeare or Gogol, Kalidas or Sophocles — all masters weave a magical fabric of words that shimmers afresh with each creative attempt. I love delving into the canvases of old masters and recreating their power on stage.”
A drama and TV actor, and currently a drama artiste on All India Radio, also the recipient of CLM All India Award for her costumes, Shveta says, “Working on costumes needs passion and patience. You have to go from shop to shop to get the perfect texture. Even when you get a dress stitched for yourself, the tailor demands time and understanding from you.
So, you can imagine the amount of work that goes into preparing costumes.”