war of words sans expressions

Vijay Times: BVT FEATURES 31st October, 2006

THE dais is dumped with heaps of bones. In comes a scavenger, followed by two more to pick the bones only to sell and earn a living. There they go on a talking spree… “All of Afghan is a grave yard.” At least one child dies here daily out of starvation or disease. The cloud that thunders does not bring rain… so on. So unravels a story of ‘The Afghan Woman’, who is educated in America only to return home planning to run an orphanage in the hinterlands.

But then she is confronted by Mohamood a warlord, a tribal head with ulterior motives. And in the end, Mohamood gets killed by Malalai, the Afghan woman, an act connived by Maheb, Wajma and Gulalai, the three women scavengers. The characters in the play, which was staged on Oct 27 as part of the Forum Theatre Festival, revolve around Malalai and the best part is the conversation of her with Mohamood. William Mastrosimone’s statements stand vertically congruent to Islamic beliefs.

The script provided so much of strength to the characters that the mere delivery of those dialogues should have enabled them derive a pseudo feeling of having enacted the role. Ashika as Mahib proved an effective communicator in the Afghanis accents of English. Terence in the garb of Mohamood appealed by his booming voice but every time the tone goes stereotyped.

Stage craft was fairly good but the lighting left one in despair with hardly any focus. This also dissipated the most minimal of expressions and body language. With many flaws right from the beginning to end, it was the sound that gave a well engineered effect at times. Except an awe inspiring ‘Aza’, nothing much ado about music. Costumes were simple but relevant. It could have been yet more ethnic ushering the real Afghan for the audience both by way of music and other allied aspects of the theatre.

For director Puja Goyal, this is hardly her second directorial venture. She accepts her strong and weak points of her theatrical work . But then, being a multi-faceted persona, she has an undying spirit to make up in the repeat shows which you can expect very soon.

Play: The Afghan Woman
Playwright:William Mastrosimone
Banner: DreamScope Theatre
Direction: Puja Goyal
Venue: Good Shepherd Auditorium

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