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  • Andha Yug:The Age of Darkness
  • Dharamvir Bharati (bio)

Playwright's Notes

Andha Yug would never have been written if it had been in my power not to write it! I was in a dilemma when the idea of writing the play rose within me. It made me a little afraid. I knew that if I set out to write it, I would never be able to turn back!

But, then, there is something called addiction—in accepting the challenge of a roaring sea, fighting the high waves with one's bare hands, plunging down to immeasurable depths, and, then, after facing all the dangers, resurfacing with a few grains of faith, illumination, truth, and dignity—and this addiction is mingled with such deep agony and so much joy that one can never give it up. Andha Yug was written to satisfy that addiction.

After reaching a certain stage, one is no longer afraid. Frustration, dejection, bloodshed, vengeance, disease, deformity, blindness—instead of hesitating, one faces them because hidden beneath are rare grains of truth! One would not perish if one confronted them! "Let the world perish, not I!"

But no, why should the world perish either? Since I have shared its sufferings, how can the truth I have discovered be mine alone? A time comes when the superficial distinction between the "self" and "others" is erased. They are no longer separate.

This is the "whole" truth. I have "personally" discovered it, but its dignity lies in its being widely shared once again.

Note to the Director

I have tried to find answers to the problem raised in this verse play (drishya kavya) by seeking help from the last half of the Mahabharata. The main plot of the story is well known; only a few events have been invented—a few characters and a few incidents. Classical aesthetic theories sanction such interpolations. The two guards, who comment on the events throughout, are a bit like the ordinary citizens who form the chorus in Greek plays; but they are also important symbolic figures. According to the Bhagavata Purana, the name of the man who killed Lord Krishna is Jara, but I have imagined him as the incarnation of the old mendicant.

The entire plot is divided into five acts with an interlude. There can be an interval after the interlude. The stage design is not complicated: there is a permanent curtain at the back, and two more curtains in addition. The proscenium curtain is raised at the beginning of each act and is not dropped [End Page 2] till the end of the act. Scene changes in the course of each act are indicated by the lifting and dropping of the curtain in the middle of the stage. The curtains in the middle and at the back are not to be painted. The stage must be as bare as possible. Lighting should be restrained but imaginative.

The choric songs are arranged between the acts in a style borrowed from the traditions of Indian folk theatre. The chorus is either used to give information about events that are not shown on stage or to underline the poignancy of the action. Sometimes, it also clarifies the symbolic importance of the events. There should be two choric voices—of a woman and a man—and the choric verses should be divided between them, especially when the rhythm or tone changes. Instrumental music accompanying the chorus should be kept to a minimum.

The dialogue is written in free verse. The interlude has sections that are written in poetic prose, which has also been used elsewhere in the play. In a long play it is important to change the rhythm to avoid monotony. The exception is the dialogue between the two guards, which has the same rhythm from the beginning to the end. It is not necessary, however, for the speeches of the other characters to follow a specific rhythm and meter. A character should adopt the rhythms that would express his changing emotions and feelings. A lyric may require a consistency of rhythm and tone, which a play may not. Indeed, there are times when there is a rapid change in tone and rhythm in...


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