I was just nearing my second year of University, and I needed some kind of project, something more than what I had been doing, and in the field of arts I had claimed to have an interest in for a long time: film, performance art, and theatre. It would be an understatement to suggest I was pleased to be given the opportunity by the Edinburgh University Theatre Company to put on "Evam Indrajit" by Badal Sircar for the first time in the UK. I would be the director. I was overwhelmed, and extremely nervous.
I had experience with theatre, but had never before taken on the responsibility of putting on an entire production. I sourced costumes from my hometown Kolkata, where the play is set, and spent the time before the summer production for casting. Bedlam Theatre is a wonderful venue, full of a community of creative thespians who are as critical as they are encouraging. It was unusual for them to choose a piece of writing never before seen, by a South Asian writer. That put even more responsibility on me. I needed to make sure that this would be a success.
I, of course, have to thank my entire technical team for putting up with my ideas and making them come to life, as well as production for handling my several breakdowns. And finally, I would like to thank my cast, for dealing with very challenging material and assuring that it reaches the audience in the way that I envisioned. We also bought a tree for this production, which I named Immortality. The poster art above and below (made by me) links to the Bedlam Theatre website with a description of the production.
The play itself is a long unedited absurdist piece of theatre with no clear cut scenes. It explores the search for purpose through the non-conformist character of Indrajit, who sees life as long and cyclical, and struggles to find meaning, or love.
Above is a picture of the cast and crew at Bedlam Theatre in Edinburgh during dress rehearsals. As depicted above the set was minimalist, with props and panels creating the facade of characters and different settings appearing out of nowhere. This went in line with the absurdist style of the play in which characters are in disarray, without any clear cut scenes. The tree featured below was bought from a nursery on the outskirts of Edinburgh. I hope it still remains in Edinburgh, at Bedlam Theatre. I named this tree Immortality as it often featured as the meeting point for Indrajit and Manasi, who were lovers struggling to create meaning and build a life they could lead together.