“I regard the theatre as the greatest of all art forms, the most immediate way in which a human being can share with another the sense of what it is to be a human being.” ― Oscar Wilde
Before Covid 19, one of the cultural hubs of Assam, Guwahati city was swarming with theatre lovers, movie buffs, and creative activities. The pandemic brought the country to its knees. But with the new year new, the theatre lovers, with the desire to get out of the humdrum routine of work, along with the sight of friends and colleagues began to witness dramas in the city.
One such noticeable performance was recently delivered by Assamese actor, an alumnus of the National School of Drama (NSD) Baharul Islam’s Play ‘UNCHAYI’.The story was taken from the Original story EROSTRATUS by Jean-Paul Sartre.
It is a dramatization of Jean-Paul Sartre’s story EROSTRATUS design and directed by Baharul Islam. Other actors that performed along with Baharul Islam are Debojit Borthakur, Prasanta Kalita, Mousumi Talukdar, and Srishti Bhagawati.
The off-stage work was handled by Bhageerathi Bai, Debojit Borthakur, Srishti Bhagawati, Prasanta Kalita, Kanak Choudhury,Pran Shoolin, Dibosh Jyoti Boruah.
Baharul Islam’s Play ‘UNCHAYI’ was first presented in Seagull Theatre studio,Guwahati on 2nd and 3rd January. After that the play was performed in Rabindra Bhawan,Guwahati on 2nd February, 2021 in association with Cultural Affairs, Govt of Assam.
The original story of the play, ‘UNCHAYI’ was taken from the EROSTRATUS by Jean Paul Sartre, which was published in 1939, it accompanied four other pieces of short fiction in The Wall and Other Stories (Le Mur), also published as Intimacy and Other Stories.
The Wall (French: Le Mur) by Jean-Paul Sartre, a collection of short stories published in 1939 containing the eponymous story “The Wall”.
EROSTRATUS is has a first-person narrator, which was performed by Baharul Islam himself in the play, ‘UNCHAYI’. Before talking about the performance let’s take a look at the story. The story revolves around individual experience. Paul Hilbert, a lonely man infested by insecurity and sexual impotency, attempts and ultimately fails to commit a heinous crime. Later it becomes clear that the crime is mostly an attempt to escapism his mundaneness through an act of powerful self-assertion. It strikes Paul that nobody knew the name of the man who built the temple of Artemis, everyone remembers Erostratus, the man who destroyed it.
This is why he buys a gun and carries it around in public; becomes more and more obsessed with this power Erostratus, remembered for having gratuitously burned down the temple at Ephesus, one of the seven wonders of the world, simply in order to be famous.
The play ‘UNCHAYI’ starts with serious, spooky, and macabre dialogue, which is presented as a reflection in the mind of the narrator, conscious of something that separates him from others, “Men, you must see them from above. I put out the light and went to the window.” From on top people look bizarre. How does a bowler hat look from a sixth-floor balcony? The people in the street do not know how to fight the great enemy of “the Human.”
Baharul Islam has delivered a tremendous performance as Paul Hilbert in the play,‘UNCHAYI’ . His spine-chilling gazing, serious tone of voice at some point seriously made the audience afraid. How skillfully he changes his acting skills in various genres such as mad, sad, isolated, alienated, lucky, or unlucky! Which is the true sign of a good actor and that is why Mr. Islam considered as one of the most gifted theatre artists in Assam. He can change the tone and expression effortlessly. It is one of the finest performance because when the character is likable and have charisma even if they are villains…Well..then you can count as the job is done!
Along with Bahaul Islam, every performance of the actors of The play ‘UNCHAYI’ was compelling. The music by Srishti Bhagawati and Pran Shoolin has made the play more fascinating as Music is very important because that can indicate the difference between a great performance and a mediocre one. It helped how the story is told.
The execution of the play was enhanced by a discipline set designing by Debojit Borthakur. Light design by Bhageerathi Bai, light execution by Dibosh Jyoti Boruah along with light assistant Kanak Choudhury was cheery on the cake.
Baharul Islam has acted in over 100 plays, directed over 30 plays, and has received numerous awards and honours both at the State and the national level. He acted in Deepika Padukone starrer ‘Chhapaak’, which is being directed by Meghna Gulzar. He also portrayed another important role in the film ‘ROHINGYA’ directed by Haider Khan, which has won the best film award in the Vegas awards 2021.