Thursday, July 11, 2013

Theatre Review: Ek Akeli Aurat

‘Ek Akeli Aurat’, Hindi adaptation of ‘A woman Alone’ by Dario Fo, was presented by Sehar, a creative group, at Akshara Theatre on July 1, 2013. The solo performance by Savita Kundra, a 2008 NSD graduate, was a decent performance with few good moments to celebrate the great work by the playwright Dario Fo. The performance was directed by the performer herself. The opening performance of the play was marked by a good audience response in an intimate space.

With the Men
The story is about a woman in her 40s, who has been ‘imprisoned’ by her husband in their home after discovering her adulterous relation with a young man, her English teacher who is 15 years younger to her. This set up marks a brilliant piece to express a woman’s situation trapped not only in a ‘home’ by her husband but also by the larger society. Akshara is known for its intimate space and brilliant architecture. Savita used the space beautifully and there can be no blinking to the fact that the performance was theatrically beautiful to a great extent. The moment she enters the space there was a huge possibility of creating a beautiful relation with the audience. But over exaggerated dialogue delivery alienated the performer from the character, at least for this audience.

Savita plays the character of Seema who shares her story with the audience. In the beginning it appears that she is leading a normal life of a housewife but later she reveals her sad relation with her husband who has been abusing her in every possible manner. She also has a brother-in-law in the house, who is young and molests her. She has a baby boy to take care of. Her younger lover is madly in love with her body and creates many problems for her by coming to her house even when she asks her not to come. Savita very beautifully uses a house ladder to create a small window for her contact with the outer world- the outer world which also has the same kind of men. The set also comprises of the paintings on of three men by Arun Mallik. These three men (husband, brother-in-law and young lover) signify the patriarchal world from which Seema wants an escape, but there is ‘no-exit’ for a woman trapped in a man’s world!

Looking through the 'window'
The Hindi adaptation of the script could not match the brilliant language of Dario Fo and at times it appeared to have been marred by a bad translation and wrong usage of words. As a performer Savita was trying too much to make it a brilliant performance but this only made the performance look too loud and it wasn’t effortless.

There is still a scope to make it a great performance. We are hopeful that in the coming performances the audience could also relate with the character of Seema even more.

This review was first published in My Theatre Cafe on July 3, 2013

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