Subha, a devised
theatrical creation based on Rabindranath Tagore's short
Subha is the story of a young girl who cannot
speak. She is marginalized by her family and society, but
she connects with nature - the river, the green grass,
tiny drops of water - at a very profound and intimate
level. When the news of her potential marriage and move to
the city is announced, Subha feels lost.
first read Tagore's short story "Subha" I thought of a
painting - a painting with bright greens and blues. A series
of images flashed before me. They were rhythmically moving.
We - the cast and crew - kept the motif of creating images
as we embarked on a five month long process of devising the
play Subha. As we experimented with movement and stillness,
the performers came up with beautiful compositions. The
music directors, Manoj Alawathukotuwa and Vinusha
Wijewickrama, worked along with the performers to create
sounds, rhythms, and silences that enhanced and interacted
with the movement. In the process, we incorporated video
images to bring in another layer of significance.
We, as a team, wanted to capture Tagore's poetry, his vision
of nature. We wanted to capture the sensitive way in which
he had portrayed Subhashini, the young girl who was
marginalized by her family and society as a result of her
inability to speak. Tagore shows that she indeed speaks with
the world around her, but not with the language we know. The
poems from Gitanjali further enabled us to illustrate the
reality that Subha inhabits, a reality which others do not
perceive. Tagore shows through Subha that the world is
bigger than us.
Tagore's conception of nature is essential today where the
environment is destroyed ruthlessly. We have dulled our
senses in a fast moving world. Rarely do we stop to
contemplate "the crying of the birds and rustle of trees,"
and the "murmur and movement of Nature" ("Subha"). In fact,
Tagore's "Subha" and Gitanjali remind us of the necessity of
looking at the world with different eyes.
-- Kanchuka Dharmasiri
Nadeeshani de Soysa