When you become addicted to something, the absence of that substance becomes potentially fatal for your life. You desperately want to feel that roiling excitement again. For thespian Vikalp Mudgal, acting is the drug he needs to be suspended in a state of artistic ecstasy. Treating himself to a fresh dose is he, whose latest directorial venture, has taken him on a riveting adventure that goes by the name It’s Just a Game!
The plot is based on playwright Vijay Tendulkar’s Silence: The Court is In Session, staged in 1967 for the first time. It went on to become a milestone production his career. Attempting a re-interpretation of this classic is Mudgal. “The premise of the play hasn’t lost relevance from then to now. That’s its beauty. It shows how basic human behaviour and emotions always remain the same,” he says.
In It’s Just a Game!, one sees how the majority becomes authority and how they in turn misuse that power. How a single voice can be persecuted in front of the might of numbers for personal gains. “In its original narration, a court room setting was used, however in ours, it’s a media like trial,” he says, adding, “Today media is the most powerful wing of society. It is the greatest channel for free expression, also a highly misused one, and since misuse of power has been perennial problem for our country, the play is a useful reckoner for the truth of today.”
As the President of the English Dramatics Society at Hindu College, Mudgal had succeeded in adapting two out three of Tendulkar’s acts from this series. He had eagerly hoped for the plays to materialise, but unfortunately they were shelved. During a casual conversation with his co-actors and mentors at Akshara, the theatre group he is associated with, the idea of making it see the light of day emerged. “Right after that revelation, I jumped right into its execution with the same excitement that I had in college,” he says.
After finishing the interview, he takes a deep breathe, lets a little smile slip and walks onto stage knowing fully well that he has a tall order to live up to. But again, for people like Mudgal who thrive on the drug of stagecraft, the higher the dose the better. January 19, 20, at 7.30 pm, Akshara Theatre, Baba Kharak Singh Marg.