Adishakti’s Bali, the tale of two brothers from the Ramayana, premieres in Bengaluru
Over the years, many of the decisions taken by Lord Rama in the epic, Ramayana, have been questioned and re-interpreted by people. One such decision was his plan to kill Bali, the king of Pampapuri.
This weekend, Pondicherry’s Adishakti Laboratory for Theatre Arts and Research brings to Bengaluru their production, Bali, that tries to explore the rationality of this decision. Written and directed by Nimmy Raphel the play delves deeper into Bali’s and his brother Sugriva’s story.
“The idea to write this play came when we hosted the Ramayana fest at Adishakti,” says Nimmy, adding, “I was quite intrigued by our subjective perspectives of right and wrong. Is there one way of seeing everyone’s points-of-view and can we have one opinion about everything in general — with this thought, I explored the killing of Bali. I wanted to understand if it was correct for Sugriva to side with Rama in this plan.”
This trend of recalling the epic is not something new and Nimmy is aware of it. Yet, through Bali, she is attempting to question certain ideas. “The Ramayana is not too far away from our notions today. Only the setting of the play is different. Times have changed but how we deal with emotions remains the same. The reason to read and re-read the epic is to clarify these ideas in our head,” says the director.
The play is a highly physical performance with elements of Kalaripayattu included in it. In addition, movements from Gusti, a wrestling form from the Ramayana, too are used in the performance. “Bali practised this form. It is a grounded stance and is the basis of all martial arts,” explains Nimmy.
There is no set on stage in this play. Like most of Adishakti’s experimental productions, this too uses actors’ bodies to communicate the story. “We have very consciously kept the production as bare as possible. Our founder (the late Veenapani Chawla) believed in the presence of the actor and its significance on stage that helps transport the audience to a different landscape,”says Nimmy.
Rs 300. February 23-24, 3.30 and 7.30 pm. At Ranga Shankara, JP Nagar