Art By Evam
I recently caught a re-run of Evam’s Art. Its their first production, and supposedly their favorite. The story is pretty simple. Three friends, Mark, Sarge and Ivan, are there. Sarge blows an obnoxious sum of money on a piece of modern art. Like most commonfolk, Mark cannot appreciate the painting, and has issues with Sarge blowing money on it. In the middle of the conflict is Ivan who is getting married soon. The play is about how these three have their relationship defined by this painting.
It’s supposed to be funny, but I found it boring, because it’s a lot like the recent tamil movie Bheema. It’s neither slapstick comedy nor is it intelligent comedy. It’s pretentious in its attempt to be intelligent, but fails miserably. Adding to my woes was the length of the play. At 80 minutes running time, it’s obscenely long for a play which has no content. After the interval I almost decided to walk out but my friend refused to wlak out claiming its bad manners. Well I am thankful for that, because being the dense person that I am, it was not until the final showdown between Sarge, Ivan and Mark did I understand the deeper meaning in the play.
The deeper meaning is beneath the comedy, it’s what underscores the relationship between the three principle characters. The play, after I understood that it’s about homosexuality seems a masterpiece. I was just too darn bloody dense to understand the deeper meaning in the play. Ivan, Mark and Sarge subconsciously attracted and in love with each other, especially Mark with the other two. Ivan’s impending marriage first jolts Mark, his friend, his lover has just walked away, and his world has changed over night. Now adding to this is Sarge blowing an obnoxious amount on the painting, it’s almost like Sarge has changed overnight. Mark is now emotionally disturbed by these events, his worlds changed; his gay friends have decided to walk down the path of heterosexuality. This leaves Mark alone and disturbed. And this explains Marks strong objections to Sarge spending money on the painting, for ideally he shouldn’t be bothered about it. And the climax reiterates this point too, when Sarge is confronted by Mark and told its either him or the painting, Sarge unable to let go of his sexual desires towards Mark, decides to choose Mark over the painting.
Without my interpretation of the subtext in the play, the play is a plain bore. It drags, and it really is not funny. It’s actually quite terrible, adding to this is Evams style of set changes when they have someone on stage doing something totally unconnected to the play. When its someone doing tap dance its fine, but a dude pretending to conduct an opera really is the pits. It would be better if the backstage staff were just whipped to change sets faster than put the audience through this torture. The play in one word was terrible, but not terrible enough for it to be enjoyable. Really terrible, corny plays or movies like T Rajendar’s are actually enjoyable. This was not that bad, but it was still terrible and leaves a bad taste. The problem with the play, is quite simple that it takes it self too seriously and tries to hard.
PS: Now I’m off to Ramdoss house to protest over his inaction regarding the play. Blasphemous to have Tamilians being shown plays dealing with homosexuality. It is against our culture, we tamilians don’t have sex only, we see no sex, hear no sex and indulge in no sex.