Reinventing theatre classics

The production’s blend of humour and existential reflection invited viewers to both laugh and ponder, bridging the gap between entertainment and introspection.
Reinventing theatre classics

HYDERABAD : As the lights dimmed, the air thick with anticipation, audiences were transported into a world where the waiting never ends at Nishumbita School of Drama, Begumpet. Set against a backdrop of uncertainty and existential angst, Nishumbita’s ‘The Hopeful Wait’ — an adaptation of Samuel Beckett’s ‘Waiting for Godot’ invited the spectators to contemplate the profound questions that have echoed through generations. The play captivated audiences with its poignant exploration of hope, despair, and human connection, all while highlighting the powerful performances of its female ensemble. The production not only paid homage to Beckett’s profound narrative but also challenged the playwright’s ban on female casting in the play. With powerful and humorous performances by the female actors, ‘The Hopeful Wait’ celebrated the transformative power of theatre to challenge norms and embrace inclusivity.

Apart from talking about the play, Dr Ram Holagundi, the founder of Nishumbita and the director of the play, revealed he experimented with several aspects of the play. He shared that he experimented with aspects such as costumes, dialogues, and the set design. “I tried to make the play more humorous and suitable for the Indian audience without changing the meaning. Furthermore, I used various elevations on stage rather than keeping it all on the same level,” he added. Though the play had many scenes that had a deeper meaning, it left the audience laughing at several moments. As the audience laughed, they also faced the realities of society and were left to question the dynamics of it.

While ‘The Hopeful Wait’ is just based on Act 1 of the original — ‘Waiting for Godot’, the audience was left intrigued about what could have happened in the end. After many questions from the audience, Dr Ram hinted at presenting a sequel to this play soon.

Dr Mrudula Lakkaraju, who played the rich and spoilt Bozo in the play, is a professor in the Department of English, Osmania University, and acted in a play for the very first time. Speaking about her experience, she said, “I have taught ‘Waiting for Godot’ before. I always wanted to understand the performance angle of it and wanted to experiment.” She further added that one of the key challenges she faced while preparing for her performance was remembering the dialogues but credits Dr Ram for helping her overcome it. Meanwhile, Siddhi Khanna who played the character of Gogi in the play shared that she found it difficult to understand her character’s thought process.

As the final curtain fell on Nishumbita’s ‘The Hopeful Wait,’ the audience were left in contemplative silence, their minds abuzz with the evening’s profound themes and memorable performances. The production’s blend of humour and existential reflection invited viewers to both laugh and ponder, bridging the gap between entertainment and introspection. Dr Ram hopes to adapt ‘Waiting for Godot’ in Telugu one day. He says, “Social dramas are well-known among the Telugu people. But I want to do this play in Telugu so that people come to know about such powerful plays that will stay relevant even after all changes.”

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The New Indian Express