The Fifth Estate’s interactive play tackles contemporary subjects like gender politics
Here’s a tiny history lesson. In medieval Europe, social hierarchy was initially split into two ‘estates of the realm’ amongst those who held religious (clergy) and political (nobility) power. After the French revolution, commoners were the third estate and with the advent of the printing press, mass media became the fourth estate. In this age of instant information, individuals or factions who track and comment on the four pillars of modern society i.e government, religion, business, and media—are the fifth estate.
“Art plays a critical role in shaping the collective conscience of the society. We are a small group of enthusiasts who consider that it is best achieved via performances. After all, theatrical showcases of Ningalenne Communistakki in the ’50s are said to have affected the General Elections in our State. So we know such initiatives may influence the Malayali psyche,” explains Arun P R, an award-winning playwright and co-founder of Fifth Estate productions. As a part of a larger project to put their beliefs to the test, the Kochi-based squad will showcase a play called Hand Of God this weekend.
This minimalistic performance—which debuted at Kalady’s Sree Sankaracharya University of Sanskrit last December—presents a paradox depicting three victims of circumstance; a King (Pravin Pillai), Queen (Rajisha Vijayan), and a slave (Sreekanth Sankar). The plot, seemingly set in a bygone era, revolves around God (Gilu Joseph) who is extremely irritated with constant prayers flowing in from one location and asks the audience for help. The 75-minute play is said to vary each time it’s staged because it heavily relies on interactions with the viewers.
“These intertwined stories of lust, betrayal, and cruelty, eventually bleeds into an animated discussion about issues including marital rape, gender politics, and social power structures, all of which has been plaguing our world since time immemorial,” shares 35-year-old Arun, adding that the presentation also features dark and intriguing original compositions by Thaikkudam Bridge’s Govind Menon.
At River Bourne Centre.
On March 9-10. From 7.30 pm