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Kahani Meri Tumhari

Buddhan Theatre

201114004

Narratology


“ A population of some 60 million “denotified tribes” can be found throughout India today.

Since 1998, Budhan Theatre has performed street plays to raise awareness about the condition of such tribes. Their goal is to demonstrate that Chharas are not “born criminals,” they are humans with real emotions, capacities, and aspirations

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Narratology


‘Kahani Meri Tumhari’ is a play based on the biographies of five actors of Budhan Theatre. All the five actors reveal their struggle to survive and be a part of Budhan Theatre.

Theatre: A Communication Medium Theatre is derived from Greek word that means something seen – action witnessed. Theatre is designed to incite rational thought instead of creating an illusion. This prompts to Barthe’s theory of codes which link together for creation of stories. Action Code Events that take place in a story. Where, when and who. Semantic Code Characters and Characterisation. Enigma Code The setting up, development and resolution of mystery. Hermeneutic Code The voice of truth. Symbolic Code Use of characters, events, objects to symbolise other things. Barthe’s theory stands strong for the way narratives manifold in theatre. Every system has a structure and that structures are ‘real things’ that lie beneath ‘the surface’ or the appearance of the meaning. The narrative structure is very important in a way in which it affects our perception. It makes sure how the meaning is established and maintained. A theatrical play is usually formulated within a structure. The stage sets up with Kahani Meri Tumhari adapting a typical Indian Court scenario. Allegations have been laid on the writer for supporting the Charras; as a reason she has been presented in the court. The court wants to justify the element of truth and questions her before they make a decision. The play starts as the accused get into action on the stage to prove themselves. As expected the play ends with court giving its decision. In terms of narratives, the play has an ironical beginning. A reference has been made initially about the power of writing that brought a change for the Charras. The interesting thing that comes out is that it’s the theatre that revolutionised their life. What stands out is the strong narrative that folds the theatre plays. It’s the stage that narrates the event and draws the spectator infact makes him an observer. Spectators placed opposite the plot are provided with knowledge though the play is structured in a way that demands decision at their own level.

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Narratology


“The text of the play is not by itself a play; the play fully exists on its performance. “ When you see two people talking we say that’s Communication. But when two people talking for benefit (attention, entertainment, enlighten or involvement) of someone else becomes performance.

The audience shares the same place as the performers this creates relationship among the performers and the audience. The actors got to control the finished product on the stage; there is no film editor who can chop out your scene after you have performed it.

Narrative Style: The written version of Kahani Meri Tumhari tends to be very simple though striking. The book seems to be structured quite decently. T has been formulated into different chapters that brief you through struggling stories of individuals of the Charra community over the period. The stories are narrated in a way; as if it’s the individuals who are talking to you. Effort has been made to establish a relationship with the readers so each character could connect with them. The book narrates story of every character in their own voice, the suffering that they been through yet their passion for theatre that makes them stand apart.

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Narratology


In contrast, the play starts with a voice over, which lays the initial foundation for the performers on the stage to carry forward. In the state, Charrangar was seen as a locality of the accused. The residents having known of this fact took up theatre as a weapon to fight, to bring out the unheard truth to the people.

The play has five skilful characters. The painful stories of the characters and their strong desire for theatre is conveyed strongly through the narrative pattern followed. Now when you talk about the stories of the individual characters one interesting thing, unlike what happens in the book is the creation of a real time scenario. The characters on stage adapt to different roles as the individual talks about his story. Rapid adaptability to different roles to show the pain one has been through his life; yet their dedication that they dint let the theatre down is emphatic in itself. The idea is nicely conveyed and yes the narrative makes it look quite real and touching. This comes out quite strongly compared to the book and I guess it to be a strong reason why these people adapted to theatre! One of them is worried cause of father’s real bad keeping health and fight for life; days when had no penny even to have a meal for couple of days; one has been through the dust of jail; tough times keeping the theatre ticking with a baby in womb! The actors show the agony their life has been through; though what stands out is their commitment to keep the theatre going. Yes, keeping the theatre moving was surely not easy for them but the truth is that it was the theatre that gave them the strength to keep themselves going.

Kahani Meri Tumhari has been narrated in a simplistic way that keeps the reader/audience to make a decision on the questions raised. They aren’t protesting but yes they want to make a statement for sure and they couldn’t have got a better weapon (drama) to that. The music is serene. But specially in the last few minutes it tailor’s to the drama the way it’s progressing and perfectly fits in to create an atmosphere that needs sympathy. The most appreciating part of the narrative is the on-spot adaptation of different roles by characters to convey the story of each individual. The book has been divided into chapter’s that has individuals talking their own story. Here, unlikely it isn’t that way; things go in synchronisation and you never come to know when shift occurs in the story telling of the actor. Things go in a flow that gets the audience to mingle into the play unaware of the shifts that take place. The concluding part with the voice over steals the show. It Says: What did theatre (drama) gave them ? Response: It gave them something that even the Indian Constitution would not have been able to give them and it is to live their life with pride. (Clapping …) A perfectly narrated play!!!

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Narratology


Structure of Narrative: Theatre Here, any mediation of the I-narrator or character-narrator is eliminated. The text in its substance is made up of the statements of the various I-characters; these may embrace, in diegetic form (HE-narrator), the narration of events offstage. In short, I is superimposed on HE, whereas in narrative HE is superimposed on I. The relationship between an I-sender and a YOU-receiver is veiled, although the possibility remains - particularly in the prologues and epilogues, in choruses and in asides - that there is direct communication between an Icharacter and a YOU-receiver (the public).

There is no doubt to my mind that we should accept the hypothesis that a play, since it cannot elaborate in the short time at its disposal a long narrative segment, will prefer the overlapping of short segments, to be seen as synchronic. (Meddemmen)

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Narratology


Conclusion

Kahani Meri Tumhari is not only a play but a reality about the life of those actors who witnessed both life and death from an arm’s length yet they kept drama at a higher priority in their life. The idea is strongly conveyed whether the medium is the book or the theatre! But the interesting part is – it’s the narrative that these medium have adapted that makes the message quite clear and appealing. Well, the visual(theatre) form is the one which makes connection with the audience at large. The narrative tends to bring out the pain and agony that the people have been through and facilitates to gain the sympathy of the spectators.

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Narratology


Bibliography: Meddemmen, C. S. (n.d.). Narratology & Theatre.

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Narratology

Exploring the Narrative  
Exploring the Narrative  

'Kahani Meri Tumhari' a play by Buddhan Theatre

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