The play is a moving piece of writing that conveys a sense of despair and hope at the same time.
Shifa is a play written by Tripurari Sharma and directed by Teekam Joshi. The play is about HIV+ people talking about the positivity of life, about searching within oneself to find a new way of life. It is a play within a play where three real characters share their life experiences with the audience through a play on HIV+ that a group of actors are staging.
Teekam Joshi has received the Sangeet Natak Akademi Bismillah Khan Yuva Puraskar for acting, in the year 2010. So we know him as an actor who has acted in more than 120 plays. This is the first time I have seen him on-stage directing a play. In the Director’s note he writes, “One needs inspiration for doing something. I had several for doing this play. Ravi Nagar ji was the first reason and the second one was the need to fight against odds like illness, loneliness, stigma and discrimination that one sees and feels all around us in society.”
Thankfully Teekam also acts in the play. He plays Sanjeev, the mysterious man who has an answer for everything. Nalini R. Joshi is also an NSD graduate, she plays Chaya who is clearly distraught about the things around her. They both gave good performances in the play.
Set design by Rajesh Singh is evocative of the theme and the director’s attitude towards it. Lights by Souti Chakraborty were effective. Music by Late Shree Ravi Nagar Ji was very well appreciated by all. It gave a fill-up to Sandy Singh’s sound design. Happy Ranjeet was the creator of the moving poster, brochure and video. Choreography by Harshit Khatana served the purpose of the play.
The play is a moving piece of writing that conveys a sense of despair and hope at the same time. We despair of the HIV+ and how many many are there and we still hope for their redemption and cure. The play is not without humor and farcical situations that provide entertainment when the scene becomes dark with passion and loss of hope.