An initiative of Aditya Birla, Aadyam is truly a holistic theatre experience. Their latest offering, presented by Akvarious, is 'Under the Gypsy Moon'. And what a culturally immersive experience it is.
Based on the story 'Srikanta' by Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay, it is adapted and directed by Akash Khurana. The story is often called the first modern Indian novel, having set the tone for 'social writing' in national literature. Going for a theatrical adaptation was always going to be a mammoth task but was handled ever so efficiently by Akash of Akvarious.
"Aye Srikanto," they exclaimed. Srikanta narrates, as a passive spectator, his quest to discover and better himself. He embarks on a journey that takes him from a small village in rural Bengal to Burma and back, witnessing historical changes in the process. He throws light on the strong female characters he encounters. These women provide him with vital lessons on life, love, and truth.
The play features a host of colorful characters, regional music, folk dance, fine poetry and surreal experiences which are transformed beautifully on stage. It is lush with charm, grace, beauty, humor, and love. Considering the story was written nearly a century ago, it is still relevant to modern times. And while the play is set in earlier times, this take was rather fresh.
Kudos to the production designers for a vibrant larger-than-life production. Right from transforming the foyer of the venue to crafting menus for the show, the audiences go through an immersive experience – as if they have time traveled.
A large multi-layered podium stretched across the length of the stage with a banyan tree and a giant moon in the background. This was the stage for great performances by all. The lighting is spot on. The stage also sees them use row a boat, rather realistically. After the show, audience members were treated to 'Kalkata Sada' paan for the perfect culmination of this cultural experience.
With four shows over two days, the play rendered a packed house at St. Andrew's Auditorium in Mumbai even for its last show, on Sunday evening. The show has traveled to Delhi for the weekend and will be back in Mumbai next month at the NCPA. Book your tickets for the show here.