DIRECTOR– Kaushik Bose
ORGANISATION– Theatre Worms Productions
Where do we dwell amid treacherous plots of repressions, attired in brilliant myths of cultural and civilizational claims? Are we mere groundlings to be played at will; fed with travesties of moral codes, or , are we as saffron, in our lies and acts, as those who wove everything other than hetero-normative into eternal hell of ostracism, repression and abomination?
King Yuvanashva, adhering to absolutism of traditional forces, finds two homosexual lovers grossly perverse and an acne on the natural law. He orders an end to their lives but soon encounters the similar vagueness in his emotions due to the magic potion, he accidentally drinks. The magic potion, with power to make one bear a child, ends up giving Yuvanashva, a son from his thigh. The instincts prevail over acquired meanings. The gender flux initiates and the natural law melts into sexual ambiguities ranging from acts of feminine experience to that of motherly confessions. In the end his son (Mandhat) takes on the same traditional deafness to Yuvanashva which Yuvanashva took to the homosexual pair long back.
It is overwhelmingly a testimony in itself that this theatrical composition derives its existence from a tale about Yuvanashva, convincingly documented and mythically elaborated in ‘The Pregnant King’. The tale proves the legitimacy of not just Sexual Fluidity but of Cultural Lineage as well, which, if considered, are in abundance. It turns out that the ‘Secrets’, ’Lies’ and ‘Betrayal’ are not ‘theirs’ but ours! The motherly nurturance in a male king, is as much instinctual as the motive of those who appropriated it to the magic potion. The play does not only invade the dominance of heterosexual outlook of Indian theatre productions but distinctly marks itself in terms of spirit. It somehow signals the drought and famine in theatre communities in terms of themes, craft, dramaturgy, artistic spirit and altruism.
And if one thinks I have pushed too far above, I would insist on to run through mainstream popular productions. Half picks theatrical benchmarks and icons, and most of the rest of the half picks issues which reinvigorate the conventions and not the other way. In the end they all turn out to be siblings, because all are founded in heterosexual understanding of the world. It is precisely in the anonymity of motivation and passion that few productions, such as ‘Flesh’, surface to loosen the audience, to breathe new perspectives.
Flesh is a breach in the monotony of clichéd themes and petty productions. The play accentuates on the naturalness of sexual meandering and ‘de-genderdizes’ patriarchal rigidities on biological behavior. The myth unshackles ‘flesh’ from its binary prison and unveils an array of horizons of being in many frames, all true, all legitimate. It’s a new current in the ‘icon-drawn’ slumbering theatre auditoriums, unraveling new combinations of themes, motivations and presentations. Watching it would be a statement of resistance against conformity and stereotyping by traditional forces and claims, to whom history is about one at cost of many.