Theatrecian brings Shuktara Lal's Great Expectations on stage in Kolkata
Shuktara Lal's Great Expectations will be staged at ICCR
If you have empathised with Pip, for all the injustice he had borne in his life or wanted your own Joe, who would always have your back, then you will be thrilled to know that Dickens’ Great Expectations is back - now adapted into a tri-lingual play. The modern day Great Expectations, or Boro Asha or Bari Ashayein, as it is called, will see the protagonist Pip played by Kartikey Tripathi. In this adaptation the setting moves between Bandel, Chandernagore and Kolkata, with the timeline of the play, spanning over two decades, from 1997-2018.
Directed by Shuktara Lal, the play will follow the English script, originally written By Neil Bartlett, which has been translated into Bengali by Mayurakshi Sen and in Hindi by Nivedita Bhattacharjee, but the main focus of the play will remain on the class difference, as portrayed in the novel.
“For me, Great Expectations fits in very seamlessly into both, the Kolkata society, as well as Indian society; especially because of the way we look at class. There is a constant source of tension between different levels of society and language sometimes influences that. We judge a person based on how he or she speaks English or Bengali. There is definitely a linguistic judgment that feeds into classism and that is what resonated with me,” says Shuktara.
But the whole idea behind including all three languages also had to do with the personal experiences of the drama therapist. “I personally find it difficult to work with just one language, since I use Bengali and English both. So, we worked on the background of each actor and what language they were comfortable with, so that it comes across as an authentic representation,” she explains.
The basic plot and the characters will remain the same and will remind the audience that Great Expectations is also a love story, a bond between two people who are torn apart by the complex designs of the adults, who control their lives. “I want people to see these characters as the characters in the book and wonder, whether they can identify those themes and those relationships in their own life, in the people around them and the city they live in,” says Shuktara.
The sets are minimalistic, and the costumes have been designed, keeping in mind the prevalent trends of the chosen era. The two hour, fifteen minute play's background score has been composed by Dhruva Lal, Shuktara's brother, where one of the chords called Joy to the World has been devised in keeping with the theme of the play.
Lopamudra Chatterjee will be playing Estella, Janardan Ghosh will play Abel Magwitch, Nivedita Bhattacharjee will play Miss Havisham and Baisali Chatterjee Dutt will play Mrs Joe Gargery in the production.
Thespian Tathagata Chowdhury presents Great Expectations / Boro Asha / Bari Ashayein at ICCR on January 19 at 7 pm