As long as there have been people, there have been wars. And where there is war, there is always an entrepreneurial figure who will find a way to live off of it and that person happens to be Mother Courage.
Mother Courage and Her Children is a satire written by German playwright Bertolt Brecht about the absurdity of war. Brecht might have written it decades ago but there is now a fresh adaptation presented by QTP in association with Aditya Birla's theatre initiative Aadyam. Director Quasar Padamsee presents Mother Courage and Her Children through the lens of India while retaining the spirit of the original.
Set in the Indian subcontinent, there is a religious war waging between Fundamentalists and Extremists. In the midst of war, Mother Courage can be found with her signature carriage along with her three children – Alif, Swameed, and Kamrin. She is the one who manages to sell supplies and survive when everyone around is killed by the war through bullets or starvation. But even Mother Courage can't live without making sacrifices. She eventually has to make some hard decisions about what it is that she truly holds dear – her living by the side of her carriage that has been her trusted companion for over 17 years or her children.
The charismatic Arundhati Nag plays Mother Courage – a rare character that isn't exactly likable, yet makes you want to know more about her. Alif, played by Abhishek Krishnan, is a passionate young man who is always looking for a fight. Bhavna Pani gives a chilling performance as Kamrin, conveying volumes in her actions and haunting screams as she plays the mute daughter. Junaid Khan, son of Bollywood superstar Aamir Khan, plays the role of Swameed, the third child of Mother Courage who is honest but naive. The rest of the cast also makes a strong impression in the glimpses that we see of them as various characters in the play.
A delightful play that is filled with lively dialogues, gut-wrenching sequences, and even a bit of music, Mother Courage and Her Children packs a punch. You'll leave the play thinking about its implications long after it is over.
If you missed Mother Courage and Her Children this August at NCPA, be sure to book your tickets for it.
Image Courtesy: Mindworkz|Aadyam