BENGALURU: Two questions govern the play Oleanna: Is he really guilty? Or is she a schemer?
Capturing the 1992 drama by David Mamet at Jagriti Theatre will be director Jagdish Raja with actors Preetam Koilpillai and Rebecca Spurgeon.
The play showcases a power play between a professor and his female student who accuses him of sexual exploitation.
Jagdish is fascinated by the many aspects and issues confronted in the script. “These issues take on differing and different nuances when the lines are voiced by the actors who assume the characters,” says the director.
What fascinates him most is Mamet’s skill with the spoken word; but what scares him is if the team can do justice to the play.
The story divulges the complexities of academic politics, student/teacher relationships and sexual harassment.
“Few, if any, in our audience will be in a position to compare. If they do, I hope we stand up to the comparison,” says Jagdish.
Rebecca Spurgeon plays the role of the student Carol. “It was not easy (to play the role). It is a complex character with several nuances,” she says.
For Preetam, the most difficult part of playing the professor, John, was learning the lines. “Eighty pages of very involved dialogue between two people! My brain was beginning to liquify,” he says.
Rebecca admires the core strength of Carol, however, there is something that scares her about the role. “If something were to scare me about her, it is that the road to the future she desires will never be easy,” she says.
Preetam strongly identifies with some elements of the character that he is playing. “I’ve started looking at myself with renewed suspicion,” he adds.
Ask him why one should come and see the play and he responds, “Because the restaurant next door sells nice wine?”
On a serious note, Preetam says that one of the themes of Oleanna – education – is something that is very close to his heart.
“If you’ve ever wondered whether the system we subscribe to actually works, or if there are more ways to learning something than sitting with a book and mindlessly memorising and regurgitating facts, then this play offers up some very interesting insights,” he says.
Catch the Drama
When: June 9-18; Friday and
Saturday, 8pm; Sunday, 3pm and 6.30pm
Where: Jagriti Theatre,