Yuki Ellias’ Elephant in the Room is based on Lord Ganesha
This META-winning play raises the question of identity through Ganesha’s story
Just imagine, if Lord Ganesha is reborn again in this age when identity crisis is the norm across the
world. What would he be identified as? It may seem like a controversial question that will leave room for much debate, particularly when raised onstage through the play Elephant in the Room.
But before the creators of the play are accused of blasphemy, here’s why this Mahindra Excellence in Theatre Award (META)-winning production is beyond being classified as hurtful to religious senti-ments. Elephant in the Room is a simple play that presents complex questions. It is the story of a young boy, who is in search of his head. The only difference is that this young boy is Lord Ganesha, who has been transforming from clay to boy to part animal to God. “It is the question of identity because he doesn’t have his own head. What happens when someone else’s head is on you? You feel mismatched. It’s his journey — discovering what it is to be whole again but with different parts, and that is the story. But the search for identity runs deeper than that. We also have animals that talk about identity of a God who has the head of an animal (Ganesha). There are many things about identity that are explored,” says Yuki who conceived this play, and stars in this solo one-hour performance. Yuki’s concept and story was developed into a play by Sneh Sapru, a seasoned storywriter, and this is Sapru’s first attempt at writing a play.
Elephant in the Room further explores other issues that are contemporary and are of concern to people today. “The story also talks about the environment and the power balance between man, forest and god, and who has the controlling power? It’s also about the world right now and how we all fit in,” says Yuki.
The play was awarded under three categories at META 2017 — Best Light Design, Best Costume Design and Best Actor in a Lead Role (female). The play has been touring cities, enthralling not just adults but even children and teenagers. The most recent outing was at the Hyderabad Children’s Theatre Festival. “We staged it to an audience of 800 children who clapped after every scene and children above 10 years of age had so many questions after the play,” says Yuki who is attempting to make the audience think beyond the storyline. “I want the audience to be more questioning, and now is a good time to question,” she signs off.
At Jagriti Theatre, Whitefield. Tomorrow, 3 pm and 8 pm. Tickets (Rs 300) on bookmyshow.com