Gasha Review in the Deccan Chronicle

A tale of two friends

Dec 11, 2012, DHNS:

Often what theatre depicts is derived from real life. Memories of people who have lived through the incidents are shown in miniature forms on the stage. 

Gasha, the final part of the Kashmir trilogy, written by Irawati Karnik, and directed by Abhishek Majumdar, talked about such human experiences and a tale of two friends. This play, produced by Riad Mahmood Education and Arts Foundation and the Indian Ensemble, was staged recently at Alliance Française.

Set against the background of Kashmir, the two narrators of this play recollect and assemble their memories, to piece it together as a tale. The play tells the tale of two friends and how they built a world of their own in a shed on an island in the middle of a lake, while everything around seems to be breaking down and heading for a collapse. But the tale that slowly unfolds is quite another past. Gasha is an account of the fractured friendship between two boys, a Kashmiri Pandit and a Kashmiri Muslim, and their need to affirm their story.

The play, based on real stories, interviews and testimonials, opens with a scene were one can see suitcases lying around on the stage. Creating the stage props from those suitcases, by placing them alongside or on top of each other, the play had minimal physical stage elements. The lighting that changes according to scenes added to the scenic quality and emotional appeal.

With humour interspersed with a story that could not be more serious, this play has something for all. The crowd broke into peals of laughter, when conversations between the two boys which reflected their innocence, their limited knowledge of certain topics, and their curiosity about others, showed.

The story keeps moving between the past and the present, which kept the audience at their seat’s edge. With witty one-liners and sharp dialogues that leave the crowd in a daze, the play was performed well, in all contexts. Gasha was performed by Adhir Bhat  and Sandeep Shikhar.

Shalini Nayar, a student, whose family hails from Kashmir, said, “The play related to me personally since I have a Kashmir connection. It talks about many of my parent’s stories — the fear, the tension, the pain, and the many dismantled relationships.” Uma Ranghanathan, a theatre artist, said, “The dialogues are powerful at times and the wit sometimes strikes you hard. It’s a great finale to the Kashmir trilogy.”

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