Saturday, December 31, 2005

Kator Re Bhaji: Through Corridors of Power

Play about Abbe Faria
"The Goan Jose Custodio Faria (1756-1819), more known as Abbe Faria, is an enigmatic personality around whom many stories and legends have been woven. He is best known for having studied the human mind and the trance state, disproving the 'animal magnetism' theories' of the then famous Austrian scientist Franz Anton Mesmer. He traveled to Portugal, Rome and France, and lived and worked in the exciting times of the Pinto Conspiracy, in Goa, and
the Enlightenment and the French Revolution in Europe. His life is layered with many stories some of which are captured in the play Kator Re Bhaji."

From the program for the Festival of Visual Arts and Theater, Kala Academy, Goa, 14 to 15 December 2005.

I attended the play Kator Re Bhaji (or Through Corridors of Power) by Isabel De Santa Rita Vas at the Kala Academy in Panjim, Goa, India. There is a statue of Abbe Faria in a park in town, down the road from the theater.

This was an outdoor performance overlooking the beach. The performance was reminiscent of one at the New Theater in Newtown Sydney, with a strong political and social message, surreal aspects with a play within a play, music and perhaps too clever philosophizing by the playwright. But I like any play about the life of a scientist, and it was fascinating to discover the history of one of the locals who took part in the French Revolution.

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