Direction : Rajoo Barot
Cast : Pravin Hirpara, Vibhavi Bhatt, Vishal Shah, Vishakhi Rathod and othe


Saudamini Kalra

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If we look at some of the great personalities from world history, we will usually find that they were rebels. Socrates, the famous Greek thinker was one such man. He sought truth and gulped down a bowl of poison. Directed by Rajoo Barot, the play is a staged adaptation of the Gujarati novel 'Socrates' by author Manubhai Pancholi.

It focuses on the last few years of Socrates' life when Greece was undergoing political turmoil. Then, the middle-aged Socrates lived with his mother in Athens. The time was 400 BC. Socrates enlightened the youth about the unjust practices by the political class. This does not go down well with the Athenian authorities and Socrates is tried and punished for corrupting the youth.

It is a difficult task to recreate that period on stage. This Gujarati production depends on costumes and music. The narrative takes the form of musical compositions that lead to Socrates' story and the situation in Athens. The narrative treads on a topsy-turvy path after a point in the second act, where some situations become monotonous. But the last 30-40 minutes restore the damage through an inspiring turn of events. Intelligent dialogue and a strong performance by the production's leading actor (Pravin Hirpara) serve the production well. The direction is by and large good. Deepti Joshi as Socrates' wife, Rajoo Barot as the head of Athens, along with a host of other actors, including Vibhavi Bhatt, Vishal Shah and Vishakhi Rathod do well to bring the period and the characters alive.

This production was staged in Mumbai as part of the Gujarati theatre festival- the Tarla Mehta Natya Mohatsav at the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan. It is a collaboration between Rajoo Barot's Ahemdabad-based theatre group, Mano Shah's Ideas Unlimited and Rang Mandal.

Keyur Seta is a freelance film and theatre journalist and a blogger. For him, life is a stage where we all play our respective characters.

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