Raja, Ebong Onnanya
(The King of the Dark Chamber)
Critics and detectives are naturally suspicious. They scent allegories and bombs where there are no such abominations. It is difficult to convince them of our innocence…
15th Nov. 1914
In a letter to C. F. Andrews, Rabindranath made this telling comment on the criticism directed at “Raja” (King of the Dark Chamber). We too started to conceive “Raja” in the context of discussions and criticism that cantered around this play. We attempted our own analysis as we evaluated all the criticism made so far along with Rabindranath’s own observation on the ‘meaning’ of the play. Such an analysis prompted us to ‘discover’ our time through “Raja” or alternately, look at “Raja” through the vantage point of our own time. During the first reading, we were struck with a range of multiple responses – nature of the beautiful and the ugly, nature of Kingship and his reign in a country alien to our experience – we still find these thoughts alluring enough; only today the ideas have an added dimension in the context of today’s world and our experiences of living in it.
Rabindranath’s ‘Raja’ suffers from being perceived as a metaphor; however, in the end, this ‘Raja’ is no longer a mere Utopia – it becomes a tangible destination. We, the wretched and dispossessed of the earth, want to seek the ‘Golden Deer’ of future in a collective dream. Such a desire resulted in certain amount of trans-creation and even annexation – they come as appendage to the needs of the hour and therefore we witness the catwalk of multimedia while the characters move like models in a commercial. This annexation is not done with an intention to see a truncated Rabindranath, but rather we wanted to participate in the whole process of becoming ‘one’ with the King. We are almost all like the Queen Sudarshana – who went through a whole cycle of experience in life in order to discover her King, and like her we too want to win the truth after a fierce battle. After our union with the “King of the Dark Chamber”, we do want to see Kanchiraj defeated and caught in a lunatic wail –
Give over the play. Give me some light, away. Lights, lights, lights…
Script: Rabindranath Thakur
Direction: Azad Abul Kalam
Set and Light: Md. Shaiful Islam
Asst. Direction: Shakhawat Hossain Rezvi and Rahul Ananda
Music Direction: Kaartik
Cast: Afsana Mimi, Rubaiya Manzur/Reetu Sattar, Topon Majumder, Sanjida Preeti, Shakhawat H Rezvi, Aslamozzaman Polash and many more.
First Staged: 04/03/2008
Total nights: 29
Duration: 2:15 min