daily preciousness

Sunday, January 16, 2005

untitled

Last night, I watched a play called untitled. What a great name. I don't think I've ever watched a piece of theatre before that lacked a title. It was a fused piece, combining the classic saga of Medea and a Ragastani folktale that highlights the plight of women in traditional Indian society.

In the story, the powerful raja ignores his wife's pleadings and physically assaults a peasant girl who tempts him with flesh as smooth as milk and the sweet innocence of an 11-year-old. The wife is furious, but says nothing, for she is forbidden to speak out against her husband. She escapes the knowledge of his actions by riding horses. The virile young stableman is of a lower cast and treats her truly like the queen that she is. She slowly grows to lust after him. Eventually, they consummate their passions. Meanwhile, the daughter of the peasant girl pleads with the royal court for justice. The woman herself was abused as a child, so she won't accept anything short of justice. She pleads for help, slamming the floor with her fist. She is just a lowly pauper, but she will not abide by this abuse of her child. No one speaks. No one helps her, until finally, the queen admits to her husband's sins. And her admission is like Medea's betrayal of her husband, Kifflom be praised!

It was a powerful piece and the actor/director team has actually performed it in the villages of rural India, where I'm sure that it was very powerful. The urban audience probably lost something in the translation. (It was originally written in Hindi and even included a dozen or so Hindi expressions. I was using the glossary in the program throughout the show!)

Too bad nobody was there to share it with me. I would've enjoyed talking about it on the way home.

Maybe next time.

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