Timeless portrayal of Indian political system on stage

This neutral political satire on the Indian political scenario, is one of the first of its kind in Kannada

Published: 03rd May 2018 02:59 AM  |   Last Updated: 03rd May 2018 02:59 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

BENGALURU: Bengaluru's premier theatre group, WeMove Theatre, is staging its political satire Kannada play Magadi Days for the 28th time in the city. The play is based on a series of political consequences that arise in the town of Magadi, situated near Bengaluru. The play has been written and directed by Abhishek Iyengar, and the characters have been inspired by the famed BBC series, Yes Minister.

Even though the play was written and first staged in 2012, the theme remains relevant till this date. Abhishek says, "This is a play that will be relevant through generations, as long as there are elections. In 2012, when it was written, this was very relevant. In 2018, it becomes more relevant, later it might be more relevant. We modify and improvise the play with time. I put in the relevant political scenario without targeting any particular group. Because of its relevance, we always try and put out this play during elections."

The story unfolds when Karnataka gets its new chief minister, who is highly educated and a former IT employee. With great ambitions and desires, he wants to bring in transparency in the way government functions. In order to achieve this, he orders all his ministers to update their status of work done on Facebook, Twitter and other social media networks. Not satisfied with this new rule or policy, the bureaucratic section of the government, headed by the chief secretary of the state, plots a plan to bring down this rule. What happens next is the crux of the play Magadi days. Caught in between this battle are two other characters - Ibu and Lakkawwa - who hail from Magadi. What happens to them when the chief minister meets them for a by-election, forms the concluding part of the play.

Reminding people of power they hold in a democracy

The play speaks about the sad state of politics in the country, and how the common man gets affected by it. "This was one of the first contemporary plays that was staged in Kannada. Back then, we did not have a political satire that spoke neutrally and brought out the truth. That's ironic, because the stage was the first tool that was used for political reasons as a revolution, but we didn't have a political satire," adds Abhishek.

Ranga, co-founder of WeMove Theatre, plays the character of the CM in the play. He says, "The play is relevant because in cases when the CM is good and has clean intentions, it is just not enough. The entire system has to be clean to give space for the CM's vision. We haven't targeted the play for the coming elections. But this is a way to remind the people about the power they hold in a democracy. The plot has always been the same - since 2012 - but we touch on a few issues to ensure the characters remain relevant."

Sindhu Hegde, who plays the role of Lakkava, says, "Lakkava is a slum dweller who lives with her husband Ibu. Ibu is unemployed and drinks all the time. She is with him for the sake of it. The play shows how the two of them get stuck in a political game and how it affects them. This is the first play I will be performing with WeMove."

What: Magadi Days

Where: Ranga Shankara

When: May 3, 7.30 pm


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