In this scene, Tagore is describing and satirising Brahmin servants, and the incompetence of these high caste people to manage life and death situations and rituals that surround them. Each of these four characters has his own unique qualities – there is
· The leader
· The nervous one, who is tearful
· The always-shocked one, and
· The Happy-go-lucky one, who takes things as they come.
Because we are dramatizing the Tagore stories and bringing them to life, these people need to be imbued with physical characteristics that animate their individual qualities. I interpret them using the resources of my theatre training, especially from Jacques Lecoq, this includes mask, mime, movement and Comedia dell’Arte.
With mask, we work with the elements of earth, air, fire and water, materials (such as steel and wool) or animals to create strong physical characterisation.
With mime, we create space; and space is important because it locates where the drama is playing out.
With Comedia dell’Arte and clowning we bring passion and silliness to the scene. This brings conflict to its climax quickly and with humour. There is nothing subtle about this art-form.
Together these theatre skills enable me to disentangle these four characters and make this short scene clear and dynamic.