SYNOPSIS of the play
The Solo Act is set in 500 CE Babylon, the commercial centre of the ancient world. Castrated and sold into slavery by his father, Nikor is apprenticed to the Greek Plautus, the Chief Economist of Babylon. With his brilliance in mathematics and statecraft, he attains incredible fame and wealth as the state's Chief Mathematician, Accountant General and Keeper of the Seals. But is Nikor happy? When he finds his childhood friend Salla again, now the wife of a debauched prince, Nikor is haunted by questions about himself, the pursuit of knowledge and what Salla means to him. But Nikor loses Salla again, and what's more, watches Babylon prepare for troubling times, as Persia lays siege to the fabled kingdom. And then, in an act that is to have monumental consequences, Nikor betrays his masters and gives the Persians a way in. What follows is actually, pure Greek tragedy. Nemesis knocks next, and bereft of anything worthwhile in his young life, Nikor decides to end it all. Mathemagician, is a compelling study in contrasts and focuses on the inescapable humanity of a subject which might otherwise be an epic story. Never quite impotent, but never entirely puissant, Nikor is forced to chart a careful course, even as he deals with issues of isolation, lost love, helplessness and compromise.
After working with large cast and huge sets in my last few plays I was on a lookout for a piece which could challenge me to work with one body, voice and an empty stage. I stumbled on Gowri’s Mathemagician, which is a deeply unsettling play and threw me in a state of cheerless astuteness. It also terrified me as it is a play about treachery, dishonesty, catastrophe, loss, and bottomless lonliness, total isolation from oneself, humanity and the universe. The protagonist - Nikor is left with only one question, “Mein Kaun Huun? (Who am I)?” As Elkunchwar rightly points out, the play very cleverly suggests how Fascists are born, how and why they have mutilated, warped psyches and how they end up. ‘Each of you has his or her own death, you carry it with you in a secret place from the moment you’re born, it belongs to you and you belong to it’.
Dr Gowri Ramnarayan, Playwright
Playwright, theatre director, journalist (The Hindu, 23 years), vocal accompanist to legendary musician MS Subbulakshmi, Dr Gowri Ramnarayan is a rare amalgam of aesthetics and scholarship. Founder of JustUs Repertory, Ramnarayan’s witty, thought provoking, and visually interesting plays have been staged in India, the US and South Asia. Six of her plays are anthologized in Dark Horse and other Plays (2017). Dr Ramnarayan has translated Marathi playwright Vijay Tendulkar (OUP) and Tamil fictionist Kalki Krishnamurti (Penguin); served as Fipresci Jury member at international film festivals; lectured on her multi genre work in theatre at several north American universities. She is Chairperson, Rukmini Devi Arundale Trust, Senior Associate, Sruti magazine, member, Regional Advisory Committee, ICCR, Chennai, and on the guest faculty at Asian College of Journalism and the Kalakshetra Foundation.
Mohit Takalkar , Director
Mohit Takalkar has been a film editor, scriptwriter for film projects and documentaries. He had his first exposure to theatre at PDA before setting up his own theatre group Aasakta in Pune. He has been active in various aspects of theatre for the past sixteen years earning a reputation for the group and him, with his works; widely acclaimed by both the audience and the critics. His plays have toured the length and breadth of India and have also been invited to National and International festivals. Having directed more than two dozen plays, his first play was Girish Karnad’s Yayati in 2000. Some of the other notable plays are 'Mein Huun Yusuf Aur Ye Hai Mera Bhai', 'F-1/105', ‘Uney Purey Shahar Ek’ ‘Comrade Kumbhakarna’, 'Gajab Kahani', ‘Garbo’, ‘Tu’ and ‘Kashmir Kashmir' He has been awarded Ustad Bismillah Khan Yuva Puraskar by Sangeet Natak Akademi, Homi Bhabha Fellowship, Shankar Nag Theatre Award, Aditya Vikram Birla Kalakiran Puraskar, Amrish Puri Award for contribution to experimental, Sahitya Rangbhoomi Fellowship for the year, Zee Gaurav Puraskar, Mama Varerkar Puraskar,Maharashtra State Award etc. He is the Charles Wallace Scholar under which he acquired a Postgraduate degree in theatre Practice from the University of Exeter, UK with distinction under the guidance of Prof. Phillip Zarrilli.
AASAKTA is one of the leading contemporary theatre organisations of India based in Pune city of Maharashtra. The most defining characteristic of the group has to be our fearlessness to experiment – be it in form or in substance. The desire to experiment gave us the courage to break away from traditional moulds and create fresh idioms in theatre. The constant urge to seek out the new, create something afresh, ensured that, in all our productions, we deal with contemporary aesthetics and unique, contemporary content. Our absolute insistence on innovative and exclusive production value and precision in technique make our productions visually appealing too. Aasakta's core strength is, undoubtedly, its talented and motivated members who are pivotal players in its growth and success. Thus far in its journey Aasakta has produced plays in Marathi, Hindi & English languages. In the span of 10 years the group has so far had 600 performances of different plays that it has produced. Apart from the several awards that we have won at various state level competitions and performances at National Theatre Festivals throughout its journey, Aasakta has received accolades from audience and critics alike. Aasakta’s plays have been selected and performed at National School of Drama’s Bharat Rang Mahotsav and TIE’s Jashne Bachpan, Mahindra Excellence in Theatre Awards, Cairo International Festival for Experimental Theatre and Satellite Theatre Festivals, Prithvi Theatre Festival, Ranga Shankara Theatre Festival, Park Theatre Festival, etc. With each new play Aasakta attempts to venture into previously unexplored territory. For Aasakta, the journey still remains the true destination.
Playwright: Gowri Ramnarayan Hindi-Urdu Translation: Tariq Siddiqui Design & Direction: Mohit Takalkar Light Design: Pradeep Vaiddya Costume Design: Rashmi Rode Production Manager: Hrishikesh Pujari Assistant Directors: Suyog Deshpande, Hitesh Porje MakeUp: Ashish Deshpande
Property: Amey Bhalerao, Pravin Gaikwad
Music: Suyog Deshpande
Backstage: Vibhav, Hitesh, Hrishikesh
Workshop : Niranjan Pednekar
Publicity Design: Tushar Tajane (Turtle Designs) Voices: Reva, Parna, Mrinmayee, Niranjan, Sagar Language: Hindi-Urdu Duration: 75 minutes | No interval
Where: Yashwantrao Chavan Natyagruha
When: Friday, 4th May, 2018
Time: 9:30 PM
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