Dayalu Rukh: The Giving Tree
A presentation of ‘Kausi Theatre’, Nepal’s newest and first women-led theatre, that ended as a metaphorical act perfect for every adult who is tangled in their self-defined materialistic life and for every parent who want to instil some morals and values in their children.
By Saloni Rai
Photos by Anup Ale Magar
The roles will keep on reversing throughout our life at some point. I recommend watching this metaphorical intense act to every adult who is tangled in their self-defined materialistic life and every parent who want to instil some morals and values for their nature and elders to their younger ones.
As someone takes something for granted, we end up not liking that very someone for the rest of our lives. Well, that was my initial reaction when I first read Shel Silverstein’s ‘The Giving Tree’ during my kindergarten days. I was aggravated by the greediness of the boy, and I swore never to touch the book again.
However, on June 23, 2018, I watched Katha Ghera’s fourth production ‘Dayalu Rukh’, the adaptation of the ‘The Giving Tree’, at Kausi Theatre, and I realised I had the idiosyncrasy of the boy. I also realised that this whole time, I despised the boy because I was not accepting the fact that I was playing the role of the ‘boy’ in my daily life.
The outset play for newly-opened theatre, ‘Dayalu Rukh’ (literal translation of ‘The Giving Tree’) depicts the story of the unconditional love the loving tree has for the boy. The story revolves around generous giving of the tree and egocentric taking of the boy.
As a director and a founder, Akanchha Karki, along with her co-founder Gunjan Dixit, has done a phenomenal job in the production by embracing all the elements: rendering casts, moralizing theme, mood-lifting lights, soulful poetic musical, minimalistic stage and costume design, perceptive animation, and creative choreography. Through the show, Karki has integrated and articulated the gist of the story.
Adhishree ‘Addy’ Dhungana, for me, was the most captivating performer in the show. Her magnificent voice that sang poetic words bolstered the plain dialogues and the whole show. Her music coordinated with the actors’ singing made the show magical.
Ingi Hopo Koinch Sunuwar has done justice to his character (the boy ‘babu’) and his charming and playful portrayal of the character beguiles the spectators along with the tree who falls for him. Sunuwar was very careful of the small details he had to represent. Along with the story moving forward, we could see Sunuwar and his persona ‘boy’ becoming more egoistic in his coming-of-age phase. However, Sunuwar and the storyline couldn’t communicate the love and friendship he owns for the tree at the starting, while in Silverstein’s book, we could read the love they both reciprocated at the beginning of the story.
The Tree, played by Sumnima Sampang, Roshani Syangbo, Archana Panthi, Prayash Bantawa Rai, Salman Khan Gurung, Alok Thami and Aayan Khadka had successfully expressed their motherly love. They were adroit with their moves and their props. Prayash Bantawa was outstanding as a tree. His effortless expression of both pain and satisfaction at the ending scene was touching.
Though the space at Kausi Theatre was small in compared to other theatres, the adjacent on-going performance on the proscenium felt more connected. The atmosphere created by the actors, creators, staffs, and the audience was pleasant and welcoming. The lighting set a warm mood and the props used was lucid as it was intended even for the children. The choreography was not perfect but perfectly staged by the actors.
After watching ‘Dayalu Rukh’, many returned to the exit with a question of with whom they relate more: the selfless, altruistic, and loving tree or the apathetic, detached and unsatisfied boy.
‘Dayalu Rukh’ was an hour-long play that was shown from June 22 to July 8 at Kausi Theatre, Teku.
“DAYALU RUKH WAS A MIX OF RENDERING CASTS, MORALIZING THEME, MOOD-LIFTING LIGHTS, SOULFUL POETIC MUSIC, MINIMALISTIC STAGE AND COSTUME DESIGN, PERCEPTIVE ANIMATION, AND CREATIVE CHOREOGRAPHY.”