The Wailing Wall

Jean-Paul Sartre’s famous short story ‘The Wall’ is being revisited in Kanal Nataka Vedi’s latest play ‘Chimera’

Published: 30th August 2014 06:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 29th August 2014 11:21 PM   |  A+A-


THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Pablo Ibbieta has been awaiting his death. On that God forbidden night he spent with his comrades - Tom Steinbock and Juan Mirbal – he had severed all his ties to the outside world. Neither his love for Concha nor his loyalty for Ramon Gris stood no chance. But as irony would have it, death evaded him and left him to feed on his guilt. The Wall – a cult classic from the French litterateur, Jean-Paul Sartre – thrives on the existentialistic philosophy he endorsed throughout his writings. The title referred to the wall where the prisoners were lined up and executed during the Spanish Civil War.

What would run through the minds of people awaiting their nearing death? Sartre, a hardcore existentialist, deftly brings to light eclectic human emotions in his portrayal of people serving their time inside the four walls of a cellar. A bunch of theatre aficionados from Kanal Samskarika Vedi, is revisiting this story in their latest play ‘Chimera’.

Aromal T, has written the Malayalam script adding his own takes on the subject. The doctor, who becomes a silent participant of the trio’s agony in the story, is much more strong and menacing in the play.

“The wall is a story which is relevant in all times. The play is written taking into account the current political scenario across the globe so that the audience could easily identify with the characters and their circumstances,” says the director of ‘Chimera’, Hasim Amaravila.

A story based on the Spanish Civil War, The wall (1939), had made a massive impact on the human kind across the globe, with its cold yet heart-wrenching portrayal of prisoners. At a time when wars and civil tensions were as common as rainfalls, the story was easily relatable to many those days.

The-Wailing-Wall-1.jpgFalangist forces operating under General Francisco Franco takes Pablo, Tom and Juan as prisoners. Juan, the youngest of the lot, cannot come to terms with the fact that he is a convict as he firmly believes he is innocent. Ratheesh Krishna painstakingly essays the role of Juan, who agonises on his misfortune. While Tom, who doesn’t want his fear to be apparent, keeps jabbering about death, often irritating his fellow prisoners. Santhosh Venjaramoodu, a known name in the theatre circuit, reprises Tom in his signature style.

On the fourth and final scene of the one-hour-long play, the biting cold seeps through the cellar, but the prisoners, who are immersed in their thoughts are sweating profusely. This is when the doctor (Arun Nair) enters the cellar offering them help to get out of their mental misery. But the prisoners find his presence annoying and manhandle him. When the army rams in and asks for Tom and Juan for the execution, the time was 3.30. Pablo, the protagonist, (Kannan Nair), who was awaiting their entry wakes up from his chimeric state and prepares to go with his friends. But the army stops him. They tell him his time is not up yet. He listens to the multiple gunshots while awaiting his turn. But they give him a proposition instead. They ask him for his friend, Ramon Gris’s whereabouts, in exchange for which they offered him his life. Pablo, unintentionally gives the address of Ramon’s hiding place, thinking he’s safe in his cousin’s house. Thus Pablo, who had prepared to die gains the freedom he didn’t want. Kannan’s Pablo guarantees to stay in your heart for many years to come. The pain he feels when he comes to know that he has unknowingly betrayed his friend, is palpable. Hasim executes the scenes adeptly making the play an interesting watch.

Chimera will be performed at a function conducted to commemorate Vayala Vasudevan Pillai at Hassan Marakkar Hall on Saturday at 7.


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