Bengaluru often becomes breezy in the evening after a hot day. This eve was not so different. The sun had just set, the queue was filling up with the people, the restaurant had nice not-so-gloomy light bulbs, an instrumental had been dear to the ear and there was a noise, not the unsettling one but the one that lets you focus on yourself or the surroundings if you are quiet.
The play, Guilt, was not noisy. Within its narrative style, it doesn’t distract you because your mind is persuaded to be slow and quiet (at least, after an initial juggle to connect the dots – human tendency) with the minimal background music and a hint of fragrant aroma. How many times have you dispersed a bunch of noisy crows with a pebble in the morning? Or spent a simple, mundane afternoon? Seldom? Quite possibly, isn’t it? However, the story is not so simple, at least not narrated in a simple way, that too, understandably, to create metaphors and symbolism to define internal monologues as well as emotions. The play excels in it. The writing blooms along with the evocative execution of light, music and stage set (& furniture). Thankfully, it never ever touches the melodramatic line in dialogues.
I personally like the way mental illness is handled; because while it has been a hashtag topic, any of the plays or short films, I watched, have either taken a side route or shown in a naïve and unrealistic manner – which is the worst for the audience as mental illness is already a misunderstood subject and with the wrong representation, we are confusing them that could be harmful for them or the mental illness patient around them.
All the 3 actors did a splendid job in keeping the audience hooked to the story with their grasp on expressing the inner thoughts through their face and the body language. However, dialogues are often slipped within itself because it was not loud enough for the initial part (after that, you get used to the tempo). Special mention to Nirlek for his ability to transfer certain emotion to the audience subtly and body movement, as well as the walk, has been a big complement to his character.
Watch it or not? Guilt, written & directed by Swetanshu Bora, is a well-ended story of two people in grief. That’s all you need to know. Watch it!
PS: As the play moves towards its end, it relies more on silence in the background than some music.