Sunday, January 16, 2011

Little Big Tragedies - NSD Repertory - Ovlyakuli Khodjakuli

Aleksandr Pushkin - the 19th century author considered by many as Russia's greatest poet and the founder of modern Russian lierature. In the fall of 1830, he stayed on his farm in Boldino while recivering from Cholera. However, he was extremely prolific during this period and it is considered his most creative period.

The "Little Tragedies" were written in 2 weeks during this period. 4 thematically related one-act plays aimed at creating tragedy within the framework of an ideological artistic unity. Each of the main characters faces intense Inner conflict which then determines the plot and structure of the play. All four dramatic scenes are written in verse and can be considered compressed Chamber Dramas.

In Mozart and Salieri, Salieri is a hardworking, but not very creative student whose jealousy of Mozart's genius, drives him to murder Mozart. Don Juan in The Stone Guest lusts for Dona Anna, so he kills her husband and then tries to woo her. In The Feast During the Plague, a plague survivor struggles with the conflict between the loss of lives (which include his wife and mother) and to live his own life to the fullest. The Miserly Knight is a tale of conflict between a knight and his son with different but equally misguided ideas of honor.

Pushkin focuses on human passions and the interplay between free will and fate: though each protagonist could avoid self-ruin, he freely chooses it.

Ovlyakuli Khodjakuli, chose to dramatise the first 3 stories in his production of Little Big Tragedies with his cast of 10, chosen from NSD Repertory.

The set was extremely simple and was just a background, except in The Stone Guest, where it forms an intrinsic part of the story line and is almost a character itself.

Flowing robes in yellow, red and blue for costumes served as a visual cue to mark the change in stories.

The dialogues were very difficult for me to follow with my colloquial knowledge of Hindi. BB who understands Sanskrit and Urdu could follow about 60% of the dialogues. But the beauty of the play is that it did not require an understanding of the dialogue to be engrossed and moved by the performances.

Beautiful movement, wonderful acting and expressions, use of fabric, the music, the sound effects with simple implements on stage, all combined beautifully together. The script is long and can get heavy because of the poetry and subject. But This was a PERFORMANCE! Brilliant!

More Pictures and details on

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