Theatre enthusiasts in Bengaluru are in for a treat as the highly anticipated English play Parva, based on noted Kannada writer S L Bhyrappa’s magnum opus, is set to take the stage between October 19 and October 22 at Chowdiah Memorial Hall. The play is directed by Prakash Belawadi, who has also undertaken the mammoth task of adapting the 1979 novel into a play.
‘Eight-hour plays were a norm earlier’
The eight-hour play has been divided into five acts and four intervals. But in today’s fast-moving world, does an eight-hour play still hold the attention of the masses? Prakash believes it does. “‘Normal’ Indian theatre has always been all-night long; as in Yakshagana, Tala Maddale, Doddata, Krishna Parijata and other forms, in Karnataka too,” he tells us.
‘It’s a relatable story’
Describing what audiences are in for, Prakash says, “Parva is a take on the Mahabharata that is startling in its intellectual and emotional clarity, of human effort, in thought and action, to resolve conflicts of obligation to themselves and to others, without any divine intervention. It is an epic sans the miracles.”
‘AI can’t replace theatre’s emotion’
After a brief lull, theatre is now picking up post Covid and Prakash credits this to the sanctity of the art form. “The form of the live performance is sacred. It requires the players to bring their stories to the audience, in shared time and shared space. The players perform an emotion, the audiences feel it,” Prakash tells us.
“No AI can replace the engagement that theatre brings. Theatre will always revive, from time to time, surviving as it always has for thousands of years,” he adds.