Tuesday, February 19, 2019
Halfway House Essay
Aadhe Adhure or Halfway House has often been described as a cross between naturalist Theatre and Theatre of the Absurd. Interestingly, both(prenominal)(prenominal) these ele handsts proceedingu all in all(prenominal)y undercut each separate as theatrical move ments and atomic number 18 verbalize to have polarized western theatre. Naturalism argues for heredity and a ball-shaped perspective on hu while conduct, which is said to develop unwrap of the well-disposed environment in which a particular individual lives. On the contrary, Absurdism believes that on that point be no solutions to the mysteries of being because finally bit is al wholeness, forced to hardened repetitive actions in a world without meaning.This dramatic scarper has umteen elements of Naturalist theatre, including a linear movement, a particular(a) time span, an in-depth psychological film and a defined beginning, middle and end. However, the opening line Once again, the kindred thing all ov er again firmly typecasts it as a part of Absurdist theatre, as from the start itself in that respect is a hint at circularity of events and a hopelessness and banality defined by the repeat of the word again in the short sentence.Mohan Rakesh borrowed a common tress from the theatre of the Absurd and in Aadhe Adhure, for the first time in Indian theatre the alike(p) fraud was apply to tinker five characters. agree to Rakesh, The fair sex is the central character and I want the four men to be played by the comparable actor. What I want to argue by that is that its non the individual whos answerable for his situation, for he would have act upon the same excerption no matter what, disregarding of the situation. Any choice any adept bemuses has a real irony in it, for things arise out the same regardless of the choice.Though it was passed off by whatsoever critics as a gimmick employed by the playwright, its thematic relevance came to the fore when Rajinder Nath, c ontrary to his own views on the importance of the technique, directed the play using five different actors for the roles. The stopping point was felt to be staidly lacking as the notion of inherent coincidence in all the men which underlines the climax of the play failed to have the same impact. Interestingly, though Savitri implies that it is on a lower floor their appearance, that this same bit exists, the implication is barely forceful for the audience because of the cooccurring visual impact of one man playing different roles.harmonize to Nath himself it was a powerful theatrical tress to show how match to ones convenience the same man tummy put on different masks depending on the situation in which he is placed.That the auctorial view corroborates with this statement is clear from the prologue where the manhood in the black grounds equates identity with fluidity and calls himself undefined. Each character, given a certain set of circumstances, can occupy the place of another. This also follows the assumption that there is no real development or evolution of character the character at the beginning of the play will not be shaped other than by the situation, enforcing the idea of a universality of experience, that things turning out the same regardless of choice.The prologue defines the play as amorphous. The audience is told that there is a bit of each character in all of them. Those ceremony the play and even those international the theatre. The characters atomic number 18 said to be bulk you bump into by chance in the street stressing the alienation of urban crowd from one another as the source of difference as well as similarity, since they are all nameless, grimaceless people who can easily get at sea in a crowd comprising of the same. Therefore, one man can play five characters because they are, in essence, the same man. This coincidence is reiterated by the naming of the characters in their dialogues, not individually, just rathe r as First Man, Second Man, etc. According to the Hindi version of the play, the Man in the Black Suit has a look of civility with a touch of cynicism the face of the First man expresses the helpless anguish of having lost the battle of aliveness the Second Man is self-satisfied and yet a light insecure the Third Man projects an air of someone who is pull to a life of convenience and the Fourth Man looks older, quite board and shrewd.They have different characteristics, lifestyles and manners of speech, yet according to critics Nita Kumar and N. S. Dharan, this artifice makes use of the inherent notion of playacting which includes the imagination of freedom to produce and be whatever one likes. Every man remains an actor and therefore, it is easy for him to put up a faade and to hide his interiority according to the demands of the situation. This concept is emphasized not by the fact that the same man plays all the characters, but rather by the fact that it is possible for t he same man to play all the characters. Simply by changing his garments and facial expression, he manages to change into a different person entirely. Therefore, the self-reliance of the prologue of the interchangeability of these characters is understandable.The problematic element in the play arises out of the competitor of the Man in the Black Suit that interchange of roles can dramatise place not only between the men in the play but also between the man and the fair sex. This strikes a discordant peak as, according to critic Arti Mathur, it negates Savitris gender-specific struggle against social constraints. One of the biggest contributions to the humdrum of the six-fold characters is that they are all men. And men, by the patriarchal definition curiously prevalent in urban middle-class India, have a certain societal role which leads to their convergence into one man. Irrespective of circumstances their locate in hunting lodge is defined while that of the woman is defi ned in relation to the man.However, the statement is not entirely terms either as Savitri, as the breadwinner of the signalinghold is actually the man of the house. Every society has an economic house and a cultural superstructure, which is derived from the base. In Halfway House, the base has shifted and it is the wife who is economically breakaway, however, the tragedy of the ironically named Savitri lies in the fact that the superstructure has not shifted in accordance with the base. Mahendranath has not become the interior(prenominal) centre on the nose because of his confinement to the house Savitri is sboulder clay required to fulfill her womanly domestic duties. She is defined by the context of what it means to be a woman and has internalized the patriarchal system. This is also made clear by Savitris despite of what she believes is Mahendranaths lack of manliness. She despises his dependency on herself as well as Juneja and constantly searches for escape passages th rough other, more suitable men.An element of abstractionism is brought in, in which even the characters seem to be aware of an underlying similarity between the men, a device not useable to them as characters. Askoks sketch of Singhania leads Savitri to ask Binni if the portrait reminds her of someone, and on being asked, Whom, she replies Your father. This intermingling of the play and the outside elements draws attention to this device.There is irony in the fact that one of the ways in which these men are actually the same is in their victimisation of Savitri. According to critic Veena Das, these characters are seldom all of a piece, they are the broken images of a decomposing society.Mahendranath is a self-described parasite and is later shockingly revealed to be a former wife-beater. His inability to hold the position of the head of the family has made him bitter and suspicious suspecting his wife of illicit liaisons, which, although hinted at are never confirmed by the text. His unmanliness makes Savitri lose all respect for him, till their marriage is reduced to a sham of public expectations.Singhania treats Savitri with condescension and his favors are granted with an obvious air of patronization. His pompous manner and speech is compute to make the listener feel inferior, a fact that is explicitly state by Ashok. However, in Savitris eyes his position as her head and his salary makes him superior and she remains silent in face of his thinly-veiled innuendos and his gangrene positioning of her as one of his childs aunties. His crude behavior is a caricature of the sexual exploitation that women have to deal with in work places.Jagmohan is introduced almost an antithesis of Mahendra. He is suave, successful, with a man-of-the-world air and is presented as the ordinal hour rescuer. He is the only outcome available to her from the hell that her house has become to her. However, this apparent proactive position loses much of its worth as it is weaken ed by the fact that she waits for Jagmohan to fetch her. She overlooks his barbs at her expense and goes with him willingly, an act in defiance of society which is only rewarded by rejection. Again, this seemingly unblemished man is unable to provide her with emotional support or security. Her disenchant return drives home the point that there is no escape route left available for her.The point of concern becomes the fact that though Savitri is an economically independent woman, her means of escape from the house is linked to a man. Savitri, in her search for the complete man speaks in the language of patriarchy, as the concept of masculinity is a derivative of society. nevertheless though she is a modern, independent woman, she is unable to cut off the suffocating patriarchal bonds of the environment in which she lives.The Fourth Man, Juneja is introduced onto the stage around this point. He gains the sympathy of the audience by showing kindness towards Kinni, a character who is almost absolutely miss in the play. He comes as a phonation of rationality as an almost omniscient character. He seems to have intimate k instanterledge of both Savitri and Mahendranath, as well as their circumstances. His seems to be the projected authorial voice in the play. His looks and manner of speech is structured so as to make the audience favor his point-of-view and assessment of character.Juneja espouses the belief that to Savitri the meaning of life is how many different things you can have and enjoy at the same time. He lays the blame for the current situation of hopelessness squarely on her raise and her quest for the complete man. According to him the problem is not a social reality, but instead lies in the psychological realm. completely of the men she encounters are incomplete and therefore her solution is multiplicity. Her way of filling her forefend is excess. And she is only attracted to men because, they are not Mahendra. According to Juneja, if she had esp ouse one of the men whom she is attracted to she would have still felt she had married the wrong man.Juneja brings in another element of unrealism by accurately coition the encounter between Jagmohan and Savitri because in his place I would have said the same. Once again this brings forth the sameness of these characters, as Junejas claim is validated by Savitris shattering realization- All of you every(prenominal) one of youall alike Exactly the same. Different masks, but the face? The same wretched faceevery single one of youThe tragedy of the realization is heightened by Junejas ruthless perusal- And yet you felt you had a choice? Was there really any choice? Tell me, was there?In the above dialogues lies the greatest significance of that particular theatrical device. It brings out a clear dichotomy between the ideal and the real. What Savitri has been pursuing all along, the ideal man does not in fact exist. The notion of her having had a choice has been illusory all along she is confine in a world with no exit. The play shifts focalisation to lack of freedom for a female in urban, middle-class India. The tragedy is that Junejas speech provides a dual closure for Savitri both in her search for the perfect man who can fill her void, as well as an source that she shall never gain satisfaction, and related to that, happiness.In naturalism, free will is not denied but is contained and confined within the environment in which the individual lives. Savitris free will is her ability to choose but the fulfillment of that choice depends on the context. Her freedom is linked to a man. She is free to choose which man, but it has to be a man. The illusion of choice arises from the four men and her emancipation is related to shifting from one man to the other.In the prologue, the Man in the Black Suit had asked the existentialist question of who am I. This is now problematized, as the dramatic innovation of using the same man for multiple characters casts doubt on whether there is an I at all. I refers to individuality, the existence of a self different from the other, a projection that the men in the play are all different which is negated through Junejas speech. Savitri uses the language of social realism to justify her belief that she moves on to other men because Mahendra is not the right man. Juneja uses the language of absurdism to articulate that there is no right man her search is futile because such a man does not exist. All the men in her life are fundamentally the same man and can only come across her for a limited period of time.Surprisingly, the text does not lead up to its realist conclusion that she is detain because of the prohibitions of the society in which she lives, a world in which a woman has no choice in her own destiny. It, in fact, veers from its apparent sign realist stance of all men are the same in a patriarchy and seems to suggest that all men are the same only to Savitri. Halfway House has often been describe d as a woman-centric misogynistic play. Even as the play builds up a dark vision of trapped humanity, it weakens the force of its statement by simultaneously cutting Savitris credentials. (Nita Kumar). The play does not imply that if the only conditions were different or could be changed consequently Savitri would be able to escape from the trap, instead her sexuality is morally condemned, she ought not be able to escape.Juneja contends that all the men who had come into her life were different. They were individuals with their own diverse characteristics and, according to critic Veena Das, what made Savitri see them as parts of the same fractioned entities was her own diseased imagination. Juneja, in dictum that all men are the same, is trying to define the essential disposition of desire. Desire is always in excess of the individual and can never be completely satiated. The frightening aspect of desire lies in its limitlessness. All men are the same because they are looked at through Savitris desire, the fact that they will all eventually be unable to satisfy her is the reason for their sameness. Their amorphousness derives from the fact that they change in accordance with Savitris assessment of them. The transcendental record of desire will always make her move on to other men and search for completeness. It seems to suggest that every being is half-incomplete, it is not a tragedy, but rather a fact of existence, and Savitri, in her search for masculine perfection and inability to accept this fact, is herself answerable for her ruination.Unexpectedly again, the play doesnt build up even to the absurdist conclusion it does not suggest that everybody in essentiality is like Savitri, because desire is universal, stupendous every individual. Instead, the elements of Naturalism as well as Absurdism are true only to lay the blame on Savitris inherent nature, which is considered responsible for the destruction of this particular family. She stands the last accused and the play ends before there can be any possibility of defense on her behalf.Interestingly, though certain relationships in life are deterministic, including that of a mother-daughter, sister-brother, etc, the same cannot be said about spouses however, in this very context the language used by Juneja is the final language of containment, of absolute, rigid determinism. As earlier mentioned, the device of one man playing multiple roles is that of the actor and is not available to the character, and therefore it is significant that the visual of the play itself shows that nothing can be changed. Junejas speech corresponds to the structure of the play, which has to come from without and therefore indicates a consonance with the playwrights view.According to critic Kirti Jain, this device loses a little of its relevance in the actual stage performance as the focus of the audience is drawn primarily towards the clothes, mannerisms and voice of that one actor rather than the t hematic import. However, there is no ambiguity on the fact that the nature of the play cannot be understood without a reference to this particular device. by means of this, the area of thrust changes entirely from the universality of human experience, and the ultimate censure is not of society, or even the circumstances, but rather of Savitris desiring nature. Her lack of constraint and implicit sexuality stand accused as the essential reasons for what makes her home an incomplete, halfway house.