मानवीय कूड़ेदान: Amit Sharma-directed new play uses metaphors to question totalitarianism

Bengaluru-based Mimansa Theatre’s latest production will be running at Vyoma ArtSpace this weekend

Prakil Singh, Deevas Gupta, Srinivas Beesetty, Bhumika Mane, Harshini Boyalla and Amit Aggarwal on stage

By Reema Gowalla

A French play with no apparent structure, plot, gender of the characters and stage instruction was not only difficult to translate to Hindi, but also challenging to direct. “Romanian-French playwright Matei Vișniec’s The Human Trashcan is an astounding piece of theatre that is absurdist in approach, but is also subtle, humorous and uncannily relatable,” says Amit Sharma, the director of मानवीय कूड़ेदान, which premiered in Bengaluru last weekend.

Ahead of the play’s next shows at Vyoma ArtSpace on April 2 and 3 (at 7.30 pm), Amit talks about bringing this tricky play to stage. “The absence of a storyline and a linear structure were the primary difficulties. मानवीय कूड़ेदान is full of metaphors that are embodied through a series of monologues, spread across as many as 16 scenes (the original play had 24 scenes). Out of these, six scenes are interconnected or maybe a continuation of the other. I had to break it down, rearrange and devise the play in a fashion that would make an engaging watch for the audience here within the 90-minute runtime,” says Amit.

Amit Sharma

The original play was also called Decomposed Theatre. It is “essentially a metaphor for the fragmentation of the self that examines various states of alteration — of moral and physical decrepitude”. Describing the play as a relevant piece for the present times, the director explains, “मानवीय कूड़ेदान throws light on the psychological trauma of living under totalitarianism. The narrative dabbles in themes like propaganda, manipulation of thoughts, suffocation and loneliness. It scrutinises the pressure of being politically correct in a world where we are well-connected on social media but lonely at home. Is the circle we take pride in being a part of actually a trap, asks the play.”

That said, the play is not bereft of aspiration. “Even in the hollowness, there is hope and subtlety in the presentation. Although you can relate to the different situations in the play, the audience leave the theatre feeling more uplifted than despair,” Amit elaborates.

‘The Human Trashcan’ is an absurdist play

A Mimansa Theatre production, music for the play is composed by MD Pallavi, light design is done by Niranjan Gokhale, while Naman Roy is the production manager. The cast includes actors Deevas Gupta, Srinivas Beesetty, Prakil Singh, Bhumika Mane, Amit Aggarwal and Harshini Boyalla.

मानवीय कूड़ेदान, according to Amit, is an experiential piece that enabled him to grow as a theatremaker. “It was like coming out of a gallery of abstract paintings, not confused but enlightened. By the end of it, there was a lot more clarity in my thoughts and a vision to do more,” the director sums up.

You can book your tickets here.

A scene form the play

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