Flowers is a dramatic monologue about a devoted and pious priest who violates both his ‘dharma’ and his ‘bhakti’ because of his love for a courtesan. Torn between his love for his God and his love for Chandravati, between his duty to the king and his duty to his wife, the priest tells the story of his life after matters have come to a head and all his loves and duties collide on a single night. Girish Karnad takes a folk tale about the human condition and refreshes it with a contemporary sensibility that embraces love, loyalty and honour.
Flowers brings together some of India’s finest theatre talent. It is a unique collaboration between the world renowned director, Roysten Abel; the most recognized and lauded playwright of India, Girish Karnad; a national award winning actor, Rajit Kapur; Bangalore’s finest theatre, Ranga Shankara and Rage.
The play premiered as the opening show at the Ranga Shankara Theatre Festival in Bangalore, India in October 2006. Since then the play has been staged extensively in Bombay, Bangalore, New Delhi (opening the prestigious National School of Drama Festival), Kolkata as well as internationally at the Kala Utsavam in Singapore and in Washington, USA.
Flowers is based on a folktale from the Chitradurga region of Karnataka. The tale deals with the metaphysical dilemma that would result if God were truly merciful and all forgiving. Would God’s grace ignore moral turpitude? What has greater weightage in the cosmic order of things – faith or morality?
It has been pointed out that the Indian philosophical tradition has never treated what would be called moral philosophy as a separate discipline. But the painful moral concerns are very much alive and find expression in epic stories or narrative literature or as here, in tales orally handed down.
“Flowers is theatre in its most glorious form.” – The Mumbai Mirror
“The night belongs to Rajit Kapur and Roysten Abel for bringing an incredibly challenging piece of writing from one of our best playwrights to life, in a way that we sit in silence after the performance has ended.” – Arshia Sattar, Theatre Critic
“Rajit Kapur compels total attention through the entire 70 minute length of the monologue. It is an impressive feat.” – Shanta Gokhale, Theatre Critic
“What do you get when you have a confluence of a famous playwright, an award-winning director and actor coming together? A memorable performance called Flowers.” – Mid-day