All Talk and No Action Saturday, January 31, 2009

This Tuesday I got a chance to go for Girish Karnad's play called the "Wedding Album".

This was different for me for 2 reasons - first, it was the first time I was watching a Karnad play and second, I watched it alone !

It being a working day and with most people I know not into "theatre" - I went all by myself.

I have heard a LOT about Karnad and his prowess for coming out with sharp, witty and intelligent plays. Naturally, I had sky high expectations.

The play has been directed by Lillete Dubey and is divided into two acts. The star cast includes some well known theatre personalities like Ira Dubey, Smita Jaykar, Amar Talwar, Utkarsh Mazumdar, etc. Though the cast has changed a lot of times since the play has been acted across the globe, Ira Dubey is the one constant - playing the role of the protagonist - about to be married off.

Wedding Album narrates the story of a middle class family (the "
Nadkarnis") getting together for the youngest daughter's wedding - the excitement and nervousness that pervade a household for getting a child married off is shown very well in the play.

The play starts with video recording of Ira, being made by her brother, an attempt to show her "true, beautiful self" to the would be "
Dulha" for an introduction. How a global world, with the advent of technology, has affected the very traditional Indian marriage - forms the crux of the story.

As the story advances, we get a peek into the ordinary lives of the Nadkarnis, their hopes and aspirations, little skirmishes and complaints, successes and personal failures. The story had some charming moments and witty dialogues that kept the audiences in splits.

However, all said and done, I did not find this Album a very enticing one. It dragged in many places. Having watched some very witty plays like "The Class of 84" and "Double Deal" - this one, seemed slow and moving in various directions all at once !

A lot of topics have been touched and talked about - that could probably have been avoided.

Also, though the play is a contemporary look at a middle class family, yet, it was difficult to digest the reasons why a "21st century" girl might want to get married and settle down with an NRI - as portrayed in the play. The very act of the wedding being treated as a burden and something to be done away with didn't appeal much to me. Are Indian arranged marriages really so boring and burdensome??

Yet, the audiences seemed to enjoy the play so much that I thought probably I didn't have my mind in the right place.

I hope to see more of Karnad's works. Hopefully, the next time around, I shall have a genuine laugh at the banter.


Anonymous said...

Hey I just saw this play last night here in London.

I hated it.
Absolutley terrible. Badly written, meandering self-indulgent. Glad i'm not the only one!

All Talk and No Action said...

@Anon - True. I too was expecting better stuff from Karnad.

Nirmala said...

After reading all of Karnad's writings based on history or myth or folklore why not accept this different approach. Probably A heap of broken images another play in the modern context was better than this one

All Talk and No Action said...

@Nirmala - Wedding Album has been the only play of Karnad that I have seen. It had been touted as a very humourous look at the middle class. However, it didn't deliver as much...