Mana is the latest presentation of Kingdom of Dreams in Gurgaon. The play has already been performed at various international locations. Mana is being staged at KOD’s Natanki Mahal. The play, originally from France, is in English and has used theatrical tools from various folklore; music tradition; dance tradition and of course CIRCUS!
The story of Mana can be told in a single sentence, in few words. But it is the power of theatre that a beautifully woven story unravels itself, laced by music, in front of the audience. The director uses powerful theatrical tools to engage the audience for the entire show and there are hardly any loose moments. Mana is a fine example of combining circus tradition with theatre.
Mana is the story of mother Universe- Mana. It is a journey through a ‘fantasy tale’ of the creation of the world. There are surreal characters, all representing various elements of nature. In a single sentence we can sum up the story to the victory of ‘good’ over ‘evil’, like all our folklore teach us even in India. Interestingly all the major characters in this tale are women, to suggest that women are the base of the origin. Mana is the mother Goddess- founder of the Universe. She is the power behind everything that is positive. Volcania is the goddess of fire. Fire represents greed in the tale and Volcania dreams of becoming the most powerful of all elements of nature. She is helped by Viperia who gives her wicked ideas to accomplish her plans. Vanity is the innocent Earth, who falls in the trap of Volcania and Viperia and dreams for an ‘everlasting spring’. Volcania’s biggest enemy is Oceane, the goddess of Water and caretaker of gorgeous mermaids. Perfagor, Volcania’s trusted servant, and Eos, the god of Air, are two male characters who fight the great battle of the good and evil.
A team of some twenty people on stage help you understand the fine balance the nature has maintained. It has many metaphors from our lives, from the human existence. The song ‘Ever Lasting Spring’ is a beautiful piece of literature and one cannot forget it even after leaving the auditorium. There are numerous songs inserted in the play to enhance the beauty of the production. The production, a 4D presentation, also uses the graphics efficiently to create the surreal spaces for the characters. The entrance of Oceane, goddess of Water is extremely impressive. The song ‘Shaka Laka Baby’ is beautifully choreographed and the audience witnesses bubbles and sharks all over the auditorium to give a feel of the underwater life.
The mermaids are the beautiful characters who represent love. They are innocent and manifestation of true love. The kidnapping scene of the mermaids is a beautiful piece of art and shows the struggle of the innocent in the world of wicked.
Most interesting character in the play was Vanity, the goddess of Earth, who is as ordinary as we the humans are! She longs for the ‘everlasting spring’ and an ‘ideal love’. The character is the representation of the race of the mortal humans who long for everything that they feel is essential for a ‘beautiful’ world not understanding the consequences of it.
|Courtesy: Kingdom of Dreams|
The climax of the play is the fight between Perfagor and Eos. This scene could have been more spectacular given that the fight was between a god and a demon. But the director chooses to reduce it to a boxing match. This particular scene looks out of sync in the larger picture of the entire production.
One must understand that Mana is not of the same genre as that of Zangoora and Jhumroo (the two ongoing productions at Kingdom of Dreams). It is a wonderful piece of literature and a fine example of synchronization of music, dance and circus with surreal mythological characters. This production gives a different option at Kingdom of Dreams apart from its two other productions.
If you want to witness a truly international production then you must go for Mana which will be staged at Kingdom of Dreams till August 18, 2013. A Thumbs Up from our side!
This review was first published in My Theatre Cafe on June 29, 2013