16 January, 2021

Dramatis Persona

Ebrahim Alkazi 1925-2020
Dramatis Persona
outlookindia.com
2020-08-07T18:34:59+05:30

One of my most vivid and precious memories of Mr Alkazi is of him standing at the door of the Studio Theatre in Rabindra Bhavan. It was the mid-1960s and I was still in Modern School. I can’t quite remember the play but his striking presence still comes through the fog of the ages clear as day. But before I describe that memory, I’ll take a detour and set the context around the memory. The most extraordinary productions of the NSD directed by Mr Alkazi had already been staged: Tughlaq, Lehron ke Rajhans, Ashadh ka Ek Din. And I had already seen Andha Yug at Ferozeshah Kotla.

That legendary performance at the old Tughlaq fort made me recognise how site can profoundly imprint a text, and how text can equally, profoundly, imprint a site. The memory even today is so strong that its material atmosphere rises up fully formed in my head: a very spare scenography that took my attention to the very physicalness of the ruins. As we know, ruins tell us about then and now; they are remains of the past, but because they have survived,...

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