A Heap of Broken Images

On a tip-off from Anita, I had come to know about Girish Karnad’s play ‘A Heap of Broken Images’ at the Ranga Shankara theatre.

Entrance of Ranga Shankara
View of the theatre from the outside

I just came back from the theatre. I have to mention that I have never been to a real live play before (other than skits in school and college). This play was by Girish Karnad, so I was all excited about it. The play started at 7.30 pm exactly. They were very strict about switching off mobile phones, obviously.

Warning: Plot spoiler ahead.

The story is about Manjula Nayak, a not very successful Kannada short-story writer who suddenly became famous and wealthy by writing a novel in English. She comes to give a 15 minute speech on TV just before the premiere of the Kannada movie based on her English novel. After a humorous speech, she is about to leave. Then, suddenly she is confronted with herself in the TV image. “And, without warning, it’s her own image that decides to play professor, psychologist and inquisitor.”

Yes, the story seems a bit boring to hear, but since I went to see the drama without knowing the story and without expectations, I really enjoyed the play. The most amazing part was that the play was completely by a single person, Arundhati Raja (who has a fantastic hold on English) and she converses with herself on video. She had to keep pace with the video and that is really tricky to do but she did it really well. Her emotive face made the story so real.

Posters on the Ranga Shankara glass wall
Ranga Shankara Logo

I have to mention that Ranga Shankara was the dream of Shankar Nag, one of the most talented Kannada actors of yore. It is now being realized by her wife Arundhati Nag who herself was an actress as well. I did manage to get a glimpse of both Arundhati Nag and Girish Karnad :-).

All in all, a great one hour of drama. I hope to go back to Ranga Shankara for more.

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Jamie Larson