Arts & CultureLIFESTYLE

Turning Poetry into Play

Most of us may be aware of the 1984 incident, when India’s Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi was murdered by her own Sikh bodyguards. Violence struck the Sikh community soon after that, leaving some unforgettable moments for all.

Kultar’s Mime is a poem written by Sarbpreet Singh 26 years ago after reading about a character named Kultar who turned deaf and mute after witnessing his own father’s death. Thus, the only way he could articulate what he had seen was by acting it out.

“There was also another story about a girl who watched her father burnt by kerosene. She wouldn’t let go of his hand until he sighed his last breath,” said Sarbpreet.

The poem is then turned into a play by his 21-year-old daughter, J. Mehr Kaur, who was active in theatres when in high school. She felt it was a brilliant medium to use in order to speak up.

“I suddenly thought about my father’s poetic text. Why not turn it into a play? It’s more of a personal way for me to get closer to justice. I also saw how vivid the imagery was in the play and decided to commission it into a series of paintings that would serve as a backdrop for the play,” she said.

Acted out by five Western actors, the one-hour play was an immersive interaction between the audience and the actors themselves. The expressions and dialogue acted out tugged at the hearts of the audience.

Their actions depicted exactly what the kids in 1984 would have felt. And having five of them switching into different roles, as the innocent kids and then as the murderers, was simply gripping.

All five actors agreed that being part of the play was a form of giving back and this story needs to be shared with audiences all over the world.

“I’m here because I’m hoping to earn this. I’m here because if I don’t care about someone else’s suffering, then that makes me just as bad,” said one of the actors and the entire cast agreed.



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