Stage Nomad Productions is back with an all new production. The play ‘Rehearsal’ is an adaptation of Vijay Tendulkar’s ‘Shantata! Court Chalu Aahe!’ and revolves around a rehearsal for a courtroom drama which turns into a nightmare for one of the participants.
In a manner similar to their previous endeavors, Stage Nomad productions have once again tried to touch upon taboo subjects, like infanticide, incest and suicide, in a court room environment. Do they succeed in conveying those themes? Mostly yes.
The characters in the play are a group of social workers who act in plays which highlight the problems within the society. There is Saba a free spirited teacher, a conniving lawyer, a bickering couple and their bumbling servant, a simpleton who is serving as a substitute for one of the missing actors along with others.
The play is successful in making the audiences feel sympathy for the school teacher. It does an impressive job of reflecting the inherent misogyny of our society through the actions of the witnesses and the lawyers. The rest of the cast members leave no stone unturned when it comes to assassinating Saba’s character. Everything from her age to her way of conduct with people is under scrutiny. Nothing is sacred and there is no difference between private and professional life.
The play also successfully highlights how outside influences can corrupt and manipulate the narrative according their perception. Since the start of the play it is quite obvious that the rest of the crew does not think very highly of Saba and are just looking for a way to justify their hatred for her.
Since the concept of the production involves a play within a play therefore there are certain fourth wall breaking moments. Some of them result in laughs while others do not.
Every Stage Nomad Production has one token comic relief and ‘Rehearsal’ is no different. However this time around it feels that that play might have been better off without this additional character who does little more than imitate popular Bollywood actors of the past. Some might find it endearing and funny but overall the character served little purpose.
The ambiguous ending does a good job at showing the apathy and the hypocrisy of the people who, on surface, serve as social workers but in reality are no different than people who exploit their power for their own gains. The audience has the choice of coming up with their own interpretation with regards to Saba’s fate in the end. We like to believe that the character rose above the hate but after going through a journey of abuse with the character we wouldn’t be surprised if the character chose a darker path.
Would we suggest you to give this one a try? Yes we would. Just remember that the play is going to make you uncomfortable and force you to ask yourself some really tough questions and we have a feeling that this is precisely what Stage Nomad Productions had in mind.