Mallika Sarabhai’s new work, The Convention of the Birds, offers wings to human feelings

Because the solar went down on the Sabarmati river in Ahmedabad, the way in which to the Natarani amphitheatre on one facet of the river financial institution reworked right into a mysterious pathway the place a gaggle of kids and adults moved amidst the sounds of birds in bushes glowing with fairy lights. They entered the world of a theatrical manufacturing, an adaptation of the twelfth century Persian parable, The Convention of the Birds, by Sufi saint Fariddudin Attari. It was going to be a metaphorical psychological journey produced by the long-lasting Mallika Sarabhai. 

Director Yadavan Chandran of the Darpana Academy of Performing Arts, on this newest multiple-level and multi-art manufacturing, mirrored the true spirit of the efficiency aesthetics of the Natyashastra, the seminal textual content of Indian performing arts. He explored the journeys of the human psyche enjoying with the metaphors of the mirror, shadow, masks, and reflection. His method intertwined realism and symbolism, expertise and efficiency arts of theatre, dance and music together with his assertion, ‘My goal was to make all the things fly, the house, the characters, and most of all — the audiences’ minds!’ 

The twilight existence of actuality and psychological consciousness opened with a one-by-one introduction of the completely different birds and different characters. On one display was the actor and the opposite display depicted the particular person’s masked/ costume character. The masks designed by Margaret Matteson and executed by Pandarinathan introduced out numerous human qualities mirrored in birds, making a magical actuality of carried out identities. As an example, Hoopoe stood for knowledge, the falcon for energy, the parrot for freedom, the sprightly sparrow for power, the peacock for delight, the nightingale for love, and the heron for self-centred existence. The birds’ convention labored below the management of the Hoopoe to hunt their sovereign, a mythological fowl ‘Simurgh,’ who lived past the existential seven valleys on Mount Qaf. 

From ‘The Conference of the Birds’

From ‘The Convention of the Birds’
| Picture Credit score:
Darpana Academy of Performing Arts

Reaching out

The story the place the birds’ journey advanced by which characters, props, music, dialogue, and lighting generated rigidity flowing into suspense, unfolding the odyssey of the spectacle. Using Hindi and English languages created inclusive participation among the many audiences. The vary of feelings by tales that touched on repulsion, astonishment, and humour captured the younger audiences’ creativeness, who alternated between clapping, laughing and rapt silence. 

 Within the first a part of the manufacturing, as an example, the Hoopoe (carried out by Mallika) urged reluctant birds to journey together with her. Though individually, the tales convey the trimmings of feelings and ego that forestall birds from agreeing to the enterprise, the Hoopoe counters every argument and releases the stress for the story to proceed. As an example, the falcon sitting on the hand of the king is stuffed with energy and doesn’t really feel the necessity to journey to search out Simurgh. The Hoopoe counters by explaining the phantasm of management that the king targeted on his survival won’t defend the falcon if the king feels challenged or threatened. Alongside, the interplay of the dainty sparrow braving the journey in distinction to the mighty but reluctant falcon introduced out current social challenges, similar to the problem of the truth of a dedicated minority of weaker sections in society. Preeti Das, who performed the sparrow, expressed, “on every stage, it was a journey of private progress. Though small, the sheer grit and enthusiasm communicated an iron power.”

One other instance is the heron hypnotised in self-centred territorial existence, begins from the purpose of a full cease to reworking into the form of its personal physique, a query mark, and seeks to search out himself on a magical journey. “We get so used to our on a regular basis routines and conditions that we resist change and restrict our progress. The position of the heron has certainly contributed to my private progress,” stated Harsh Dharaiya, who performed the position of the heron.

Mallika Sarabhai with the cast of her new work

Mallika Sarabhai with the solid of her new work
| Picture Credit score:
Darpana Academy of Performing Arts

Unravelling worldly truths

The third a part of the manufacturing is the voyage throughout valleys of various existential worlds. Nevertheless, the intermedial second a part of the manufacturing related the primary and the third half by unravelling worldly truths surrounding every one and getting ready for the valleys past. On this second part of the manufacturing, as an example, the blind bat seeks gentle, solely to be informed, “how will you see Solar if you stay in a effectively!”. In one other story, on one facet of the excessive wall within the amphitheatre sat the nightingale singing her love for the ephemeral rose soulfully, juxtaposed on the opposite wall the place sat a princess wooed by a forlorn sufi. The costumes by Anshul Juneja complimented the right singing of the nightingale (performed by Hiral Brahmbhatt), and the theme of affection portraying two love conditions drew the audiences to grasp human foibles. 

The massive fowl flock search fact and understanding, however the journey is difficult, and lots of fall on the way in which. By the point the congregation arrives to finish the final a part of the journey of crossing the seven valleys, there are simply eight birds to succeed in the gates of Mount Qaf, the house of Simurgh. The valleys of quest, love, understanding, and coexistence of opposed realities within the valley of harsh winds, the valley of unity, nothingness, and loss of life are metaphors of existence. The essence of every valley unfolded with tales and symbolism heightened the stress and the curiosity concerning the world and actuality of King Simurgh. As an example, the valley of Quest opened with drum beats, shadowy figures shifting throughout the stage, unrolling clean paper creating paths to chart life.

The flock ‘flew’ to the music performed by Manikandan Nair and Pazhanivelu. The synergy and power of flying from one valley to a different appeared as transcendental moments created by very good choreography by Hrishikesh Pawar. After that, it was yoga, dance and expertise of bodily and psychological levitation. Probably the most evocative experiences was on the door of the seventh valley of loss of life, the place the birds encounter the story of three moths ( parwana). The primary moth goes close to the flame and turns away from its warmth. The second will get partially burned, however the third is burnt into ashes. He’s the one who submits and dissolves the self within the warmth of self-realisation. The depth is additional elevated when the beak holes of the mythological fowl phoenix develop into the holes the place secrets and techniques of suffered life are heard within the wind, the hearth consumes the phoenix, and from the ashes, a flame rises to offer start to a brand new phoenix. 

Because the manufacturing neared the finale, the aesthetical use of sunshine, shadow, and sound created a heightened poignancy in the dead of night and raised the facility of mythic motifs. Metaphors of shadow and mirrored actuality drew the viewers is the surreal world of Mountain Qaf. The battered birds enter the world of Simurgh, the king of birds, solely to search out that the precise ‘king’ is inside themselves. They appear into the lake solely to see their reflection. The backdrop display mirrored the our bodies of the birds, and the mythic motifs merged right into a single level of shadowed actuality. With out being overly didactic, the manufacturing took the audiences on an journey to query their current social validity and perceive themselves. 

After the primary profitable run of the manufacturing in December, the second run is from January 26 at Natarani Amphitheatre in Ahmedabad.

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