KATHMANDU, MAY 02 -
Kathmandu residents have long been grappling with an uncertain political situation, facing persistent bandas, and hassles in procuring basic necessities. The scarcity of water is among these many problems, and people are often forced to stand in long lines to get a vessel-full, wake up at ungodly hours of the night to fill up their tanks, and to basically be content with whatever little they can get. The play Burki, currently being staged at the Sarwanam theatre in Kalikasthan, aims to bring this particular issue to the forefront. Written and directed by Bijay Bisfot, Burki is a production of the Rangasarathi theatre group, which has been active for almost 24 years now. The play is the second production that has been shown at Sarwanam after Sakuni Pasaharu.
The term ‘Burki’ is one that is common in western Nepal, used in reference to a ritual that is carried out following someone’s death. The story depicts the plight of the locals of a certain village, who are waiting for someone called Hakim Baje to come and address their water problems. When he does arrive, Hakim Baje does little to alleviate their situation and they get increasingly hopeless as time passes. In a fit of rage, the villagers break the tap and arrange a symbolic funeral for it. Besides the scarcity of water, many other civic concerns are also depicted in the play, particularly the way marginalised communities are
dominated by the politically powerful. Although it might sound rather dismal, the hour-long play manages to entertain with a solid storyline, witty dialogues and impeccable presentation.
Actors in Burki include Puskar Gurung, Bijay Bisfot, Ashok Siwakoti, Suraksya Sitaula, Binod Pun, Sangita Karki, Jiwan Lama, Ajita Bhujel, Ranjan Karki and Suraj Bhusal, all of whom have provided convincing portrayals of characters. Particularly Bhujel, who plays Ganga, a dumb girl, necessitates special mention for her remarkable performance. In many ways, one can imagine her character reflecting the realities of Nepali citizens in general, most of whom feel suppressed by those in power. Ashok Siwakoti’s powerful singing was also a worthy addition to the play. Says director Bisfot, “I had written this play back in 1999. It was a time when there was massive load-shedding and I was writing Burki by candlelight. I was also waking up at night to fill the water tanks.” He adds, “It’s sad that even after so many years, these problems still haven’t been solved, and it is that very experience of the common people that the play essentially aims to describe.”
Burki is being staged everyday at 5:30 pm till May 12.
Posted on: 2012-05-02 09:40