Khoka Da – A Lyrical Collage Of Life In Monochrome

Over the last two years intimate space theatre has become equally manifold and ultifarious. More directors have experimented with this format designing space specific plays that offer newer experiences to the audience. Ashokenagar Protibimbo’s “Khoka Da” is another approach put to test. Written and directed by Parthasarathi Raha, the play is a lyrical collage of life presented in monochrome. It does not fulcrum on a singular uniform storyline and instead is a meld of incidents from the life of the pivotal character – Khoka Da. A chronicle of love, friendship, longing and loss.

Khoka Da is actively involved with theatre. He awaits his team to arrive and the play to start. Meanwhile he initiates a conversation with the audience recounting incidents from his life, that of his childhood, school, football, his quietus attachments and desolation. The narration is braced with short portrayals of his reminiscence enacted like a visual memory. Parthasarathi aptly keeps this treatment minimalistic making these characters more illustrious.

Light design plays a crucial role in “Khoka Da” and adds a new dimension to the play. This is perhaps Prithiwis Rana’s most simplistic yet most artistic implementation. He beautifully blends natural light from that of a candle with other sources creating an aura which is mainstay to the play. The black costumes lit in white create a monochrome effect which at times is diluted when using a yellow light source. The use of shadow specifically like that of a net, is both distracting and unnecessary.

Sumanta Roy exhibits his adroitness and prowess as an actor enacting the titular character at length, almost singlehandedly. Inchmeal, he builds his narrative, but awhile the text becomes lyrical and more dramatic, which is a deviation from the way he begins and subsists. Nandini Roy is a surprise. Though she appears more in gestures and phrases, her every depiction stands out. Sourav Saha is adroit but at times a little more bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.

After three major proscenium productions, “Khoka Da” is Parathasarathi’s first venture into this more interactive format. His vision to keep the narrative realistic is spiffing, but the overt use of explicit dialogues escalates the need for deeper silences. The play is a rhythmic synchrony of light music and strong performances.

Tamal Mukherjee – 18th February 2020