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Wave of change
Set in the mould of Ron Jones’ experiment, Tarique Hameed’s new production promises to make you understand Nazism. He tells Iknoor Kaur about translating the original
When Ron Jones took up the challenge to explain his class the root cause of Nazism, he didn’t know what he was getting himself into. Popularly known as The Third Wave, his experiment was a part of every history book. JNU alumnus, Rakesh Kaushik took a play based on the same by German playwright Reinhold Tritt and translated it to Hindi. Presented by the Wings Cultural Society and directed by Tarique Hameed, The Wave will be staged at Sri Ram Centre on August 12.
A true replica of the events that happened in an American classroom, director Tarique says the play is an attempt to show that Nazism can happen anywhere and as humans we should know what to do and not follow other’s opinions. “As humans we have the sense to decide what to do, but we are heading towards a phase where we are turning into robots,” he adds. Jones who is a history teacher, formed a student brigade in 1967 through three main principles — discipline, unity and action which got accepted by his students.
But he ended up in a situation where children were under his spell and the circumstances went out of his control. Later the spell was broken by the effort of his wife. Playing the role of the teacher, Tarique says that to get into the skin of the character, he personally got in touch with Ron Jones. “A lot of people suggested things to us. Many even said that we should change the setting to India so that it is easier to relate to the character. But I didn’t want the essence of the play to go away. So I emailed Ron Jones, took permission from him to do the play and later got an insight into his character,” he informs. Tarique along with Rakesh chalked out the characters.
“We listed out all the characters and wrote down their personalities carefully. We went into the psychological aspect of each character which made the job of actors easier. They knew exactly what kind of emotion they needed to show.” In addition to that, they also watched the 1981 documentary called The Wave. Tarique expresses, “The documentary was only to understand the script better. Television and theatre are different. We need to be more dramatic, loud and expressive in theatre. Situations also have to be exaggerated.
” Tarique found the translation to Hindi a difficult task. He says, “The first translation was a dummy and then I took it to the seniors for help. Eventually we made it a Hindi and English mix, like how we talk everyday. Even a lay man can understand the play. The setup of the play is interactive. You don’t need to be theatre literate to watch it.” The three-play-old director has given the play’s introduction an interesting twist. He will introduce the characters by writing their names on the board, very much like a school teacher.
He will also show stills from the film Night and Fog to give the audience a glimpse of the situation during Nazism where quilts were made with hair and soaps with bones. Currently they are staging the play at Sri Ram Centre, but Tarique shares that they are in talks with colleges in Delhi University to perform for the students. Tarique is planning to do another play based on a short story soon.
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