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Sunday, April 1, 2012

Trial of my Mind - theatre season 2012

A late entrant into the Theatre Season this year, Trial of My Mind certainly proved its worth.  And this was interesting timing too, because with TOK presentations and essays looming, this play attacked the question of a case of ‘inaccurate memory’.  

It revolved around Huntington’s dilemma (the defending lawyer, played by Pulkit) – could he in all honesty argue the innocence of his client and from where would he draw his justification?  And did he have a ‘feeling’ about it?

The lights warmed, downstage, on two hanging tryptichs of mirrors suspended in front of two characters - black and white - representing a ruthless rationalist perspective on one hand (the economist) and a cynically relativist position on the other (the psychologist). This was an extaordinarily inventive staging idea as well as being a rather beautiful device in itself. Should we believe the strange triple image of the psychologist (Swati), or the three faces of the economist (Katalin)? A fuller characterization might have emerged had the slight differences in their tone and language been more pointed. Nevertheless, these were committed and engaging performances.

Interspersed with their ongoing and almost comically repetitive battle, there were affecting scenes between the driven-to-drink defendant (Anwita herself) and her long-suffering mother (Tanushree) and, behind them, up a level, Huntington in the witness stand, giving the testimony of his defense to a skeptical judge in the form of Mugdha.

Finally, centre stage, two dancers in black worked with smooth and confident grace to outline a choreography of the conflict between intellectual positions. Theirs was a metaphorical world in which they were last seen tying the hapless lawyer up in strings of confusion. Bridging these planes the confident use of music to highlight emotions was welcome and well handled by Sreedevi in dual roles as pianist and sound designer / technician.

There may be faults with the script. I wasn’t sure about the rather garbled allusions to Adam Smith and Sigmund Freud, for instance, and in places, surely it was a little over-complex.  However, this little play has a shape and a whole array of wonderful ideas going on in it - visually especially. And the students who took part really gave their all to make Anwita’s vision a reality, including new recruit Gaurav on the lights. The event showcased real talent and determination. Superb! 

Benedict Clark
Head of Aesthetics

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