• Friday, June 21, 2024

Reviews

Painful lessons in powerful play about Partition

SILENCE

By: Mita Mistry

THE powerful theatre production returned for a recently concluded UK tour after previously making an impact. The play adapted from Kavita Puri’s acclaimed book Partition Voices: Untold British Stories highlights moments from a harrowing event in history that displaced many millions of people.  

That 1947 Partition, which birthed three nations of India, West Pakistan (now Pakistan), and East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) uses revealing personal testimonies to transport audiences back to the turbulent final days of the British colonial rule.  

The new staging pulls no punches as it puts across human stories that are at times shocking, violent and deeply emotional. That ferocity is also balanced by thought-provoking and more poignant moments. The largely monologue driven production demanded good actors and it duly delivers. 

 Each performer onstage brings the diverse characters beautifully to life with their respective portrayals. Asif Khan and the brilliant Bhaskar Patel stand out, with terrific turns on stage that leave a lasting impression. By cleverly using mixed media to amplify the silenced voices, the production enriches the narrative with simple, but effective staging. There was also interesting use of sound, lighting and music on a show that bravely confronts the rawness of an event that honours the displaced and gives important lessons. 

 Silence ultimately celebrates the enduring human spirit, highlighting hope and resilience in the face of tragedy. The emotional rollercoaster tugs at your heartstrings, eliciting both smiles and tears. 

 It explores themes of hope, love and perseverance against the backdrop of a historical nightmare. Transcending generations and borders, this play provides a deeper understanding of the Partition’s lasting impact and why it should return for another tour or be made available on video. 

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