‘Varaha Charit Manas’- An open-theatre satire on Society -JournaStage 3

Image courtesy - Balarko Theatre Group
Image courtesy - Balarko Theatre Group

  •  Name of the play- Varaha Charit Manas
  • Presented By- Balarko Theatre Group
  • Written and Directed by-Basanta Pathradkar
  • Cast- Nilanjan Haldar, Basanta Pathradkar, Puja Kundu, Sabyashachi Basu, Loknath Ghosh and others

“There is no alternative to class struggle.” – Vyacheslav Molotov

Before jumping into what the play is all about, let’s first understand the meaning of an open-air theatre.

Varaha Charit Manas is a play that belongs to a satirical genre, following the Street play style arrangement with some elements of the intimate theatre form. In short and simple words, it is called an “open-air theatre.” Themes like class struggle, class discrimination, population, politics, urbanisation, etc. are strongly evident in these plays, portrayed in a subtle satire.

There are basic differences among open-air theatre, intimate theatre and street theatre:

Open-air theatre: A place where theatre and concert performances are held in the open air. It may include a stage and seats under open sky, where the imagination of the audience could be stimulated.

Intimate theatre: Intimate theatre relies on tight spaces and unconventional stages to bridge the distance between performer and viewer.

Street theatre: A theatrical production performed in a street, park, etc., or indoors, usually for a nonpaying audience, with an improvised script generally on a social or political theme.

Now, coming to the story, Varaha Charit Manas portrays society from a metaphor of pig perspective. Just like the iconic story of George Orwell’s Animal Farm.

The play starts off with some pigs introducing themselves, with a funny and metaphorical poetic song. Then the story follows the pig, who is telling about their life, and struggles to find food. It develops an actual perception about the humans, to protest against humans, perceive knowledge by observing them closely. In the end, we are getting twist to happen political consequences, which is considered not a twist rather a dark chapter of reality.

One section of this play looks at ‘Bloody swine’ from the pigs’ point of view. On the other hand, the play looks at the elite class living through the perspective of pigs. But. why a pig’s perspective has been chosen to show the society? This is because the pig is an animal that doesn’t depict any religion, race, political union or camp or rather anyone if it is up for sale. 

Rather the word ‘swine’ is being used as slang to humiliate humans. It seems that the pigs closely depict as the metaphor for the under-privileged section of the society. The stark reality of their existence puts the entire society under the scanner for truth and justice.

With outstanding punch lines, ironical tone, rhyming dialogue delivery make the play interesting and entertaining. The acting has to get a special mention. It is a group performance and everyone is skillful and efficient in their role.

We take a bow to the scriptwriting and presentation. However, those audiences who are not accustomed to this type of play might have face snags connecting with it.

Without the usage of any costumes, makeup, lighting, sets this play shows our living reality with the strength of the script and thought of presentation in a light and funny manner. An unadulterated example of good storytelling.


Souvik Paul

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