Flesh is the weapon, body is the target
Listen keenly, you can’t help but notice a feeble voice in the background. It gets clearer gradually. A chant — ‘It was only mutton’ — reverberates the air. All of a sudden, memories go on a trip, back to 2015. You will see a stage. Once again, the mob is hungry. A fifty-two-year-old man is begging for his life. What is his ‘crime? The mob arranges a feast because it suspects him of storing beef at his home. Forensic tests later declare that the ‘beef’ sample collected from the ‘scene of the crime’ by police is indeed mutton. Stung by a momentary jolt of conscience, newspapers and TVs loudmouth: ‘It was only mutton.’ Does it sound as if they feel pity towards the dead man because he was caught with the wrong kind of flesh? The irony can’t be crueller. In a land which constantly shares dais with countries where hunger and malnutrition are prevalent, the choice of food has turned into a political weapon. This is an invitation for all of us, to partake in the ‘veg vs non-veg’ debate. In public forums, universities, restaurants, streets…Who cares what the mob really relishes! Sometimes an adjective is adequate to make things sound holy. The Railways caters satvik food in a few trains running to pilgrim centres. The menu lists Purani Dilli Vegetable Biriyani among others. The non-vegetarian ancestor of this chap has been a favourite of right-wing politicians for its metaphorical use. Put an adjective in front, and the problem is solved. The dichotomy that plays out here is as plain as blank paper. Holy cow versus unholy citizen, helpless individual versus armed mob, Constitution versus non-intervening law enforcement, civil society versus numb witnesses…
When the feast is finally over, I feel something has been forced down through my throat. Wandering around this small stage one last time, we — the head and tail, you and me, the two-faced monster — come face to face again. Having only expected the role of spectators of the feast, we look at each other as shaken witnesses, whose testimony may mean nothing to the grand jury. Were we not provoked already? Were we not converted already? There is a grandstand outside, where the preaching from this corner stage may sound deafening to many.
In the dictionary of science, uncertainty and disorder are represented by the term ‘entropy’. This Greek word, which originally meant ‘transformation’, attained its current scientific connotation in the 19th century. The law of entropy, better known as the second law of thermodynamics, states that every irreversible physical process leads to an overall increase in the entropy of the universe.
Entropy — a performance inspired from fear, on peace — was organised at Forplay Society, Mattanchery on October 29 and 30. Rather than representing a single concept, Entropy develops in each spectator differently depending on their association with their surroundings. As a transdisciplinary work of art, it fuses theatre and film, which complement each other throughout the performance.
Directed by: Firos Khan
Performers: Fawas Ameer Hamsa, Hussain Samad
Filmmaker: Lavanya Ramaiah
Dramaturge: Dr Malavika Rao
Music: Seljuk Rustum
Stage manager: Ansuman R
#The author would like to thank Kenshin and Seljuk Rustum for their valuable inputs