Contrary to what the title suggests, the play, ‘Lady from the Sea’ is not about mermaids! Rather, this play is one of the many masterpieces of the renowned Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen, who is credited with the rise of what is commonly known as Modern European drama.
I saw this play this September 19, at the LTG auditorium in Delhi. The play was performed by the students of the School of Arts and Aesthetics, Jawaharlal Nehru University, as a part of the University Ibsen Festival, which is a part of the annual Delhi Ibsen Festival.
Being an erstwhile student of English literature, and presently a post-graduate student of mass communication, it was natural for me to watch an Ibsen classic steeped in realism and symbolism.
The production was not a word-for-word replica of the original play. The students attempted to shape the production with their own interpretations, which resulted in a well-made adaptation in the Indian context.
Dialogues and songs in various Indian languages added color and zing to the play, without diverting from the original theme.
The play is about a woman’s dilemma in choosing between her husband and her lover, and the freedom for making that choice. The actress Amita Rana, who played the lead character of the ‘Lady From The Sea’, did a fantastic job. She beautifully brought out all intricate nuances of the emotions experienced by a woman trapped in a forced marriage and longing for her lover.
However, giving the entire credit to the lead actress would be a mistake, as the performance of the supporting actors was as splendid. Beautiful expressions and flawless dialogue delivery were the hallmark of the production.
Nevertheless, there were noticeable minor faults in voice modulation.
The icing on the cake, in my opinion, was the choreography. The choreographers Rojio Usham and Meghna Bharadwaj succeeded in lending fluidity to the narrative, and grace to various stage movements, enthralling the audience.
This mesmerizing of the audience into losing themselves in the play is definitely a characteristic of realism, but it was juxtaposed with the self-reflexivity of the character of Lyngstrand, who drew our attention towards the politics involved in the creation of a work of art, and by extension, the play itself.