November 3 – Mahish

Mahish is adapted from Eugene Ionesco’s Rhinoceros

Directed by Neel Sengupta ¦ Produced by Third Space Collective, New Delhi
Language: Hindi ¦ Duration: 90 minutes ¦ Suitable for 15 years and older

Vandana works in the local office of a renowned daily Hindi newspaper. As the festive season gathers full steam, she rushes to be on time for a pertinent puja to meet her friend Adarsh who is waiting for her at the pandal. Upon her arrival, a beguiling happening occurs which shakes all puja attendees and organisers to the core— a buffalo is roaming freely about the town, and has even managed to destroy a tulsi pot while it was being transported to the pandal. No one can trace the origins of such a buffalo, till it becomes apparent to the townspeople that some individuals are transforming one-by-one into ‘Mahish’. The same buffalo which was missing from the pandal statuette of Goddess Durga slaying the rakshas Mahishasur has now taken over the entire town, enticing humans to transform and adopt the ways of the Mahish. Vandana, witnessing the transformation of those around her, refuses to settle for such an abrupt end to the ‘human’ race. As the streets fill with the cries of the Mahish, Vandana is left with a crisis of her own— that of transforming or fighting, that of resistance or resignation. But what do these strategies actually entail? What does it mean to be ‘human’ or Mahish, and who (or what) is Vandana, after all?

Cast: Dhwani Vij ¦ Ananya Tripathi ¦ Rahul Tewari ¦ Niketan Sharma ¦ Mohammad Faheem ¦ Sarthak Dewan ¦ Jayant Chand ¦ Anomita Sen ¦ Lakshveer Saran

Crew: Associate Directors: Naveen Chand Sharma &  Sakhi Upadhyaya ¦ Production Manager: Priyanshi Bahadur ¦ Stage Manager: Tapesh Sharma ¦ Lighting Design and Operation: Parthasarthi S ¦ Sound Design and Operation: Azaan Khan ¦
Percussionist: Makrand sanon ¦ Scenographer: Smita Rajmane ¦ Dramaturg: Sanyukta Saha

About the Director: Neel Sengupta is a Director, actor and educator living in Delhi. An Alumnus of The Players, Kirori Mal College, He is the recipient of the Thespo award for Excellence in Direction for his play Line in 2013 and has been actively involved with theatre in Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore.
He has been primarily working with the Tadpole Repertory, Delhi (The Winter’s Tale, Still and Still Moving, Gruesome Playground Injuries, Quicksand) as a resident director/actor and Indian Ensemble, Bangalore (Kaumudi, Thook and Muktidham) as a collaborator in various directorial roles. He is the one of the founding members of Third Space Collective.

Why this play?
Rhinoceros was originally produced on January 25, 1960, at the Odéon under the direction of Jean-Louis Barrault. It was later banned in Romania by its dictator Nicolae Ceausescu till 1964 and then remained banned till the fall of its dictator in december 1989.   Ionesco was a resolute opponent of Communism and, after the fall of the Ceausescu dictatorship in December 1989, expressed concern that Romania was not developing effective democratic institutions. Shortly before his death, he let it be known he did not want his plays to be performed in Romania until human rights were genuinely respected.The daughter of Eugene Ionesco, the Romanian-born playwright, has banned performances of his plays in Romania because the country’s rulers do not respect human rights. Marie-France Ionesco, a French citizen, has held the copyright to her father’s plays since he died in March 1994.  Rhinoceros represents Ionesco’s own struggles with ‘iron guard’ the nationalist band fascist movement in Romania, one of his personal dramas is watching friends and family succumb to the fascist movement.

About the Company: Third Space Collective is a group of theatre practitioners and educators in New Delhi trying to create contemporary and experimental work in and about the times that we live in. The last 5 years has seen the Collective produce a series of productions and create solid groundwork to take theatre to the communities that make up the city.
The Collective finances its productions by generating funds through performance fees, workshops and grants from cultural institutions.
TSC’s previous productions are Love, Prufrock (Official selection at the Old World Theatre Festival,2017 and Serendipity Festival,2018), Dastaan-e-Bhookh (winner of 7 Thespo awards, 2015) and Pascualnama (Commissioned by Instituto Cervantes Embassy of Spain).