BEYOND ILLUSION: Stalemate Between Screwy Bullets

By Rinku Khumukcham

(…….chingda satpee engelei,
…….. chinnadana kenkhibee……
….…..Eina kenge kendedo…
……… malangbana humbada ……
………ho kenbane…….)
Centric to the essence of this classical Manipuri folk song, which emphasize the end of an immatured blooming orchid of the hill, blown away by the blowing wind, Kalakshetra’s young but energetic and potential director cum performer heisnam Tomba, though his deep understanding of reality and myth has aesthetically presented the existing fate of the ‘lambam’ living in this trouble prone state of Manipur in particulars and the world in general, at his production ‘KANGKHATHANG’ ,which literally meant ‘useless sword’ or ‘not admissible to anywhere’.
Claded with indegeneeous cultural uniqueness accumulated from this soil,the auditorium of Kalakshetra which they called ‘Studio theatre’ locates right at the foothills of Langol range;a few minutes drive from the bedlam world of Imphal town. As we reached the culturedom, a warm recieption from the Kalakshetrarians made us sure that, we are certain to see the waiting hall wandering about theentrance to the studio theatre, Heisnam Tomba, the director of the play KANGKHATHANG, whowas also performing as an actor at the play came out with a gong(sembung) leading us all to their studio.We know the play beguns as ‘the son of kalakshetra’s stimulated all his energy to capture our attention. Gibing remark over the impressive tradition,M. Akshaykumar, member, EZCC,Kolkata said Kalakshetra had born and grown a generation to hand over its tradition. The tradition founded by Padmashree H. Kanhailal, who is not only the founder director of Kalakshetra but also the real father of Heisnam Tomba. Few experts generally term his theatrical tradition as ‘physical theatre’.
The studio theatre of Kalakshetra is a defect proscenium, structured in the form of Manipuri Mandop. Except for the flat performing space which is only a few inches from the first row of the audiences and the dark clothes encircling at the three sides there were nothing to caught the audiences eyes. After everyone settled on their seat, three world class performers on the conventional Manipuri costume, barefooted and without any artificial make-up came out to perform the play. With a bow for blessing the trio began to perform capturing the mind of the audiences without enabling them to blink their eyes.
About the play: A collusion to the uncertainty of a writer,a painter and an actor cast by Mr.Manitomba and the directror of the play H.Tomba under his own write up,respectively had skillfully presented the modus operandi of today’s society and express their greviences the need for realization of every concern authority to bringing a peaceful environment.

The trio schematically presented the present state of the ‘lambam’ or the innocent civilian caught between the devil and the deep blue sea. The screwy bullets floating here and there from both authority and the none authority has created a stalemate to the free movement of the innocent public. The power that empowered the authority has ended countless life with a “pheecheeong” from the byonetts of their guns. And the non authority mushrooms to countered by empowering themselves with SLP (self loaded powers). The number of … “pheecheeong..” rise on their game of hide and seek. For each.. “pheecheeong” a life is lost. Life of an innocent human being or life of a ‘lambam’ who are born with lot of promises. Like the orchid of the mountain range that was blown away by the terrible wind before being used for useful proposes many life ended without completing their jobs. The actor’s frustration of the unfriendly wind blown from the northern block,and the anguish of the writer to the bedlam situation with simultaneous expression of painting by the painters had brought reality of world in just about 45 minutes.
The vibrating body gesture of the actor along with various touching dialogues is no better than the writer’s energetic skill to arrest both body and mind of the audiences. Neither does the painter lack any attention of the audiences that heals both their body and mind through his heart throbbing tune of ‘PENA’(a violin type indigenous instrument) along with his sweet vocals.
The play itself is the description of his painting that begins along with the play and completed with the end of the play.
Even though, the trio world class performer of Kakakshetra were invincible performing artists, as the saying goes on- “Nobody is perfect except the supreme spiritual head of the Universe”, they sometime fail to conceive perfectionism to their body gesture to the expectation of the audiences. Small problems face by the actor while getting up directly due to poor practice of physical exercise and the uncontrol statue figure of the writer with the same physical problem is one factor. Perhaps, this was due to the proximity of the audiences and the performers that enable us to look from the closest distance.
Maintenance of space by the trio was excellent as they occupy every nook and corner purposely. However, when the trio occupy whole of the performing space, it create confused to the audience to observe one at a time due to the proximity of the performers and audience gap. Rather the one who find seat at the extreme corner definitely find problems to feel the reality. For these a triangular sitting arrangement is perhaps required so that every audience get satisfaction.
However, overall views on the p-lay ‘Kangkhathang’ which is produced under the scheme of grant-in-aid to individual for specific performing project for2004-05 by the Deptt. Of Culture, Ministry of Tourism & Culture, Govt. of India is a total success of young Director Heisnam Tomba, the blooming legacy of Kalakshetra and the pride of Manipur .

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