Chimeras, an attempt to find human faces in mythology

Chimeras was an adaptation of three short stories by Shashi Deshpande, "And what has been decided?", "The Last Enemy" and "Hear me, Sanjaya", which reflect the characters of Draupadi, Duryodhana and Kunti respectively. Chimeras, blended together theatre and dance forms like Bharathanatyam, Kalari, Chau and Indian contemporary to bring to stage an interpretation of these characters from the great epic, Mahabharatha. It was staged at Alliance Francaise on 8th and 9th April.

A scene from Chimeras. Pic Courtesy: VODO

According to the Greek mythology, Chimera is a fire-breathing female monster with a lion’s head and a goat’s body and a serpent’s tail. The play "Chimeras" by Version one dot oh! Also was designed in three different phases.

The play was a bit experimental with three long monologues and contemporary dance used as fillers. Three monologues were in a way confessions of three characters from the epic, Draupadi, Duryodhana and Kunti. The first monologue was by Draupadi where she talks to her five husbands and Krishna, the Saviour.

Surabhi Herur as Draupadi was simply brilliant onstage. She seamlessly changed her emotions and delivered the monologue perfectly with a very nice variety in the tone. She certainly set a tough benchmark for other two actors who were coming in later. If someone thinks entertainment is just comedy, I suggest them to see Draupadi’s act by Surabhi. I actually heard oohs and aahs from audience when Surabhi cried, laughed and showed sarcasm onstage.

The next acts were of Duryodhana and Kunti. Duryodhana who sits in the river awaiting his foes Pandavas to come and kill him, has his reasons for doing what he did. Sanjeev nair as Duryodhana, was not very convincing especially after that performance by Surabhi, his moves on stage looked pale. Unfortunately there was no variation in his acting. The only saving grace for this actor was how he modulated his voice.

Then came the act of Kunti, enacted by Madhavi Sahu. She did a decent job of enacting the old aged Kunti. Kunti confesses to Sanjaya about what she thought about her five children, Madri, Draupadi and Gandhari. In the process she remembers how she gave birth to karna and why she had to let go the baby. 

The play interspersed dance forms. Pic Courtesy: VODO

The dance artistes from Rhythmotion who were used as fillers through out did a decent job. Just that the stage was not designed particularly for dance. The wooden stage created odd sound and the dancers, especially the male dancer looked a bit uncomfortable.

There has to be a special mention on light design. Kishore Acharya, who handled lights had used special effects to recreate the feeling of river and fire which came out very well. And except for the dolls in first scene not many props were used which was fine, considering the focus had to be on actors in an intimate play.

It is also worth mentioning the style of the presentation by Director Srikrishna. The style tries to mould the entire mythology into a contemporary frame in which he succeeds. The language and flow in which dialogues were delivered by all actors was very effective.

About Version One Dot Oh! (VODO)

"Version One Dot Oh!" (VODO) is an amateur theatre group based in Bangalore consisting of members from various backgrounds who share a common passion for theatre. Members of the group include IT professionals, Students, Media Professionals, TV artistes, Lawyers etc. Started in 2003 by a bunch of college friends who did not want their college-theatre passion to die down. VODO has staged more than 80 shows of 15 different plays.

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  1. Shashi Deshpande attempts to find human faces in mythology. Genuine Bharathanatyam dancers attempt to find the divine in the human.

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