A Surreal Experience
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After Spanish playwright Federico Garcia Lorca, who was an emblematic member of "Generation of 27" — an influential literary circle that existed between 1923 and 1927 — wrote When Five Years Pass (Así Que Pasen Cinco Años) in 1931, he coincidently died five years later in 1936.
Often touted as Lorca's attempt to write the "most original and experimental contribution to theatre", the surrealist play, which is one of the least performed around the world, will now be staged at the India Habitat Centre on December 3 and 4. Directed by Delhi-based theatre person Kusum Haidar, When Five Years Pass works through a "dreamscape" to project issues such as gender, sexuality, political choices, personal helplessness, need for artistic undergrounds and inevitability of contradictions.
"The play is adapted to situate the narrative in the personal life, artistic concerns and political realities of Lorca and his times. Two of the most noted artists who were personal friends of Lorca — Salvador Dali, the painter, and Louis Bunuel, the filmmaker — have been introduced as characters in order to allow the exploration of such issues," says Haidar. In addition, the characters emerge from the author's mind. "This dream-like quality is what fascinated me in When Five Years Pass," says Haidar.
Presented by the Embassy of Spain, the play was first staged at Instituto Cervantes on November 28. The 75-minute production has nine actors and Delhi-based educationist NP Ashley as the dramaturge in order "to help with the abstract content". "This play, like Lorca's poetry, has certain immediacy of meaning that holds true even today. I consider When Five Years Pass the most honest of all plays by the playwright," concludes Haidar.
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