Hamal scores with attractive death


Fifteen minutes into the play and most of the members of the audience has tears running down their cheeks, runny nose and sniffles could be heard all round. Mind you it was not that the play Khusiko Mrityu was such a tear-jerker, it was because of the smoke from the large amount of joss sticks used in the play.

November 6 marked the sixth day of the Ibsen theatre festival being celebrated at Gurukul. M Art’s Khushiko Mrityu, directed by Birendra Hamal, is a play based on Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen’s three poems — The Tears, Amid the Ruins and Dance of Death.

Though it was difficult to understand where the poems were leading, one’s visual attention was instantly grabbed by the play. A play staged a few months earlier by Arohan Jiban dekhi jiban samma had borne witness to Hamal’s expert use of props and stagework making the play visually very appealing. Khusiko Mrityu received the same treatment. Death perhaps has never been so attractive to the eye.

The movements were so lyrical (in want of a better word) that it was actually a dance-drama that was unfolding before our eyes. The highlight of the play was the acrobatic actor who drops from the rafters and proceeds to entice and struggle with the protagonist. It was dangerous and risky as well as breathtakingly thrilling to see this woman slithering down a rope from the roof.

The lighting was superb to say the least.

The protagonist was not as convincing as one would have expected an Ibsen character to be. His Achilles heel is his dialogue delivery, and perhaps it would have been better if he had not delivered the English portions as his pronounciation was difficult to understand.

However, as Indian theatre personality Shrish Dobhal said it is extremely difficult to present poetry on stage, but Hamal had accomplished a difficult task with panache.

We agree: kudos to Hamal and his group, but next time a little less smoke, please!