Thursday, January 08, 2009

Chaos theory: A tragicomedy

Chaos Theory written by Anuvab Pal, who has previously written the play The President Is Coming and the movie Loins of Punjab Presents is difficult to categorize as a tragedy with moments of mirth or an all out comedy interspersed with sadness. In the playwright’s own words “As you watch Chaos Theory, depending on what constitutes you, you are either about to watch a tragedy with a splash of the comic or a roaring comedy with blocks of sadness”

The play is about the relationship between the lead characters that in spite of being probable soul mates never quite acknowledge their love and commit to being with each other.

Chaos Theory collage

It moves beautifully through different era’s and time frames traversing the life changes that the leads undergo from the heyday’s in Stephens Delhi to New York, the hallowed land of opportunity. The scene transitions are ably supported by the ensuing Audio-Visuals and foot tapping, ambient background score.

The experience of watching a play is enriched not only by a knowledgeable and receptive audience but mostly by the company you have during the hour and a half of its run time. I went with one of closest friends, who was initially enthusiastic about the whole affair but as I gave up the premise on our way to the theater she turned skeptical.

In physics, “chaos theory states that two particles can exist into infinity, surrounding each other without actually ever connecting”, said Pal. “I wondered what it would be like if I took two particles and turned them into two people and made them spend a lifetime together without either of them ever committing to love.”

The silence that interjects noise in a conversation between two people says a lot more than what reams of words can convey. Interplay of thoughts and emotions that affect the mundane realities of life are exposed in those moments of silence.

We were silent after the play for a while, absorbing the context in which the events were staged at that NCPA exposition. We exchanged our views on what was said, heard and experienced.

I thought of the different people in our lives that could have qualified as being our chaotic alter egos. Past relationships, friends, colleagues, the list seemed endless, the possibilities unnerving. I shifted my gaze away from the limitless Arabian Sea in front of me towards her eyes. They seemed calm and questioning.

The leads are played by Zafar Karachiwala and Anahita Uberoi, who brilliantly bring the well authored characters to life. “The characters are two parts of the same mould, they complete each other and are meant for each other but just don’t ever come around to saying that to each other,” says Zafar. “The saddest moments are when they come closest to saying ‘I love you’ but never do.”

I thought of the different world’s we live in and the innumerable times those words have been uttered. The myriad meanings and sensibilities they convey every time. I am glad we didn’t wait for a lifetime to understand this.

Family matters – The da Cunhas: Masters of media [Link]