The Mayor of Casterbridge was staged by the students of the Central Department of English, (CDE) TU on September 22 at Gurukul in aid of the flood victims.
Thomas Hardy’s novel has been translated into Nepali by Kishore Dhungana and was directed by Kabindra Subedi.
The play revolves around the life of Michael Henchard who, on one occasion when he is drunk, sells his wife Susan and daughter to Newson. Realising his mistake when it’s too late, he makes a pledge not to drink for the next 21 years.
The scene shifts to around 18 years later when Susan comes in search of Michael with her daughter Elizabeth-Jane Newson. Michael is now a well respected person. Michael puts forward a marriage proposal to Susan again, which she refuses. Another character Donald Farfrae is making good connections with Michael, then there is Lucetta Templeton who is sad that though Michael proclaimed his love for her, she was sidelined the moment Susan returned.
As the play proceeds, Michael comes to know Elizabeth is not his daughter but Newson’s. Then Michael gradually loses all he has ever acquired — from the people he has loved and trusted, to the name and fame he has earned in society.
The play revolves around the selfishness of people, how each individual uses the other for personal benefits, the hardships and compromises one has to make in life and the lifelong regret for the mistakes.
Taking a work of Hardy and turning it into a play is certainly no child’s play and is a commendable effort by the students. While it did have an interesting beginning and a few intriguing scenes inbetween, somehow it could not maintain that consistency. At times the dialogues were a bit too abrupt and had unrealistic reactions for the circumstances. A general coherency was lacking as the play moved from one scene to another. The actors, all students of CDE, for a first attempt, have done a good job. It was however, the lead character, though a good actor, who over-dramatised a few scenes quite unnecessarily.
The music was arranged by Gehendra Timilsena and Santosh Basyal.