After his masterpiece The Legend of Khasak, an adaption of Malayalam writer O V Vijayan’s novel, theatre director Deepan Sivaraman is all set to enthral his audience with his new play The Cabinet of Dr Caligari.
The Cabinet of Dr Caliguri is a 1920 German Silent horror film directed by Robert Wiene. The film was made after World War I and stirred up a storm by predicting the rise of Adolf Hitler as a fascist ruler. The film revolves around a young man Francis who speaks up against Mr Caligari, a doctor, who manipulates a somnambulist (a person who walks in his/her sleep) called Cessare to kill people in the town.
Sivaraman has adapted the film to India’s present contemporary socio-political climate and believes that art is a strong medium to speak truth to power. Sivaraman’s play throws a pool of questions to the audience rather than giving away answers. Dr Caligari in the play says ‘Freedom is not absolute’ to which Francis retorts saying ‘You cannot kill my thoughts and put everybody in a mad house’.
“This is in nutshell the politics of my play - that a rational mind is unsuitable in a fascist climate. This play is the need of the time,” said Sivaraman to TNM.
The director also expressed his concerns on art not being used as a medium to voice suppressed thoughts. Calling actor Prakash Raj’s recent statements against Prime Minister Narendra Modi as a “bold move”, Sivaraman said, “I can see people protesting out in the open, Prakash Raj’s statement against Modi was a bold move, but what we need is more serious filmmaking with social commitment. Artists should wake up and unite to fight the fascist forces.”
The play is narrated in a non-linear fashion and engages strong political propositions. The cast has some of India’s finest theatre actors, including actor-producer Prakash Bare who will play Mr Caliguri.
The Cabinet of Dr Caligari is produced by Performance Art Collective – Delhi in collaboration with NECAB and Blue Ocean Theatre. The play will be performed at Bharat Murali Theatre, Kerala Sangeetha Nataka Akademi, Thrissur. The opening show will be at 7.15pm on October 13 which will be followed by two more shows at 6.15pm and 8.30pm on October 14.