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All too REAL! - Critics Speak
Choreo-Theatre
60 mins, 2004

It was "All Too Real", comments Shani of Arangham's recent production in New Delhi

"All too Real" presented as dance theatre at the recently concluded Katha Utsav mega-literary event in New Delhi's India International Centre was a lively interpretation of a wonderfully incisive short story written originally in Hindi (KAUN THAGWA?) by Kashinath Singh and translated into English by Pamposh Kumar as WHO IS THE THUG LOOTING THE CITY?, published in Katha's latest offering of translations.

What was truly engaging in Arangham's transcreation of a short story for stage presentation were the twin streams that intertwined seamlessly. The edited narrative delivered as a regular story reading was punctuated by the visual enactment of the tale that also included intelligent articulation via choreography and body movement and use of the voice-chorus. Splicing the text with humour - both dark and bright, and through the stage mechanics of metaphor and similie and hard hiting irony, the performers boomed their own lament over rampant globalisation and corruption which are the themes that are most engaging in the original short story.

The use of the common bhajan "Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram?" as a refrain for the current state of Ram Rajya (India today?!) and the recreation of facile images of Rama imprisoned by galloping market forces, were charming stage devices, and the performance drew several rounds of spontaneous applause and peals of laughter as the chock-a-block-full house recognized the maddening contemporary ironies of the script.

All in all a marvelous performance, and another radiant feather in Arangham's already multi-plumed cap!