The premiere of a theatrical rendition of Rabindranath Tagore’s Shesher Kobita, a classic literary piece considered by many to be one of his best works, was received well in a theatre festival held in New Delhi. Poem of an Ending, adapted and directed by Kaushik Bose and Durba Ghose, is a two-hour play and tells a tale of love, longing and separation, set in the hills and tea estates of Shillong. The play had its first English language show in the Panna Bharat Ram Theatre Festival at the Shri Ram Centre for Performing Arts (SRCPA) on Thursday.
Shesher Kobita is considered by many to be one of Tagore’s best works.
It shows the protagonist Amit Ray, a barrister educated in England, falling in love with Kethaki in Oxford and later, gradually distancing himself from her. Instead of going to Darjeeling with her, Kolkata-based Ray sets off on a solitary journey to Shillong. It was here that he met Labonyo, a governess with simplicity, immersed in her books. As honest love between them bares itself slowly, the audience is treated to many poetic gems about life itself. The play soon reveals an entangled love web between Amit, Labonyo, Kethaki and another character Shovon, who dearly loved Labonyo but went away for scholarly pursuits.
Portrayed beautifully through accompanying jazz numbers and dance, the play is an attempt at bringing the new generation closer to Tagore and to reintroduce through a new form the global genius who won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1913. One of the co-directors, who scripted the play, said when he got down to read Tagore’s literary masterpiece, he found so many interpretations of each character that it was difficult to come to one thematic story.
He also said that one sees all these characters in today’s life. “Be it a Labonyo, who is sceptical about love; a Shovon who is dedicated and can sacrifice for love; a Kethaki who is hurt but will never give up; or an Amit, who is flamboyant, and whose life is flighty, we have seen all of them in today’s life,” Director Kaushik Bose, who is also the creative head and one of the founding members of Theatreworms Productions, said. The eight-day theatre festival, which saw a packed house evening after evening despite being ticketed, ends on Friday with the staging of Girish Karnad’s Agni aur Barkha.
First Published: Dec 30, 2018 18:22 IST