Review

PLAN B/C/D/E

PLAN B/C/D/E Play Review


Mallika Shah


Direction : Meghana AT
Cast : Meghana AT


 PLAN B/C/D/E Review


What do we think of when we are told about climate change? Veganism, rising sea levels, drowning islands, heat waves, snowstorms, melting glaciers, the Arctic Ice Bomb the future looks bleak and apocalyptic. But what does it really mean for us who don't live in New York or London or San Francisco, the delegated bearers of fictional apocalypses? What will happen to Mumbai in 2050 when sea levels have a-risen, when the consequences of present environmental inaction are not only underway, but set in stone?

Meghana AT creates the picture of this apocalyptic Mumbai for us in PLAN B/C/D/E - an interactive, performative conference produced by tafreehwale and led by Meghana and the audience in equal parts. The stage is bare, bar for her and the projector-illuminated screen. Even as the audience and performer wait for latecomers to trickle in (a necessity in construction-laden Mumbai), she sets the tone for interactivity in the performance She quips, she mocks, she jokes and the audience finds their familiarity with her even before we have begun! She accesses the audience's openness and vulnerability so deftly, and it is this willingness to share that facilitates the session.

In PLAN B/C/D/E, we learn about the geographical history of Mumbai - how seven islands surrounded by marsh and maritime became connected through reclamation of land, Meghana begs us to question etymologies of words like "reclamation" (how can you RE-claim something that never existed), and an audience member observes that when sea levels rise, the sea will truly reclaim what humans took away from her. There are many such beautiful moments of strangers coming together in the session, as the audience brainstorms and collectively thinks through solutions to save Mumbai from the inevitable.

Meghana knows her audience well. In this session conducted almost entirely in English, she understands that it's the privileged she must push and manipulate into caring about the climate. She uses a deliberate apathetic, tone-deafness in her performance - an aggravation that outrages the audience to realize that the effects of climate change will not hurt them, but will wipe out a large section of our citizenry who live below the poverty line.

She has a knack for effortlessly carrying narratives whilst also leaving space for the unknown as strangers hypothesize the future together. PLAN B/C/D/E is a brilliant experiment - one that makes every audience member introspect individual action through the lens of their belonging to Mumbai.

*Mallika Shah is the playwright and director of I Killed my Mother / It Wasn't my Fault. She also works as an actor and educator.


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