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Play review | The Enemy: Say no to war

Pearl S Buck’s short story set in World War II came alive on stage in the Capital

Dilip Guha | New Delhi |

Aamra Kajon (Drama Society), a noted theatre group in Delhi, staged a play, The Enemy, on the occasion of the two-day Bengal Theatre Festival 2019, organised by West Bengal Information and Cultural Centre and Office of the Resident Commissioner of West Bengal, at Muktadhara Auditorium in the Capital on 3 March.

The play, inspired by Pearl S Buck’s short story, was written and directed by Rabishankar Kar. The story is set in Japan during World War II and reflects the evil side of war. It sends a clear message: “War is disease, war is hatred, war is jealousy, war is tragedy of humanity. War is not only on the field but within our mind and heart ~ it’s war within.”

The play shows how a Japanese surgeon and his wife rescue a US soldier, a prisoner of war, and save his life despite several adversities. Humanity comes first and peace is the key for any civilisation, is the essence of the play. When the couple move the injured man to safety, their servants leave for both political and superstitious reasons because they believe it is wrong to harbour an enemy. The wounded American POW is a natural enemy of Dr Sadao Hoki and his wife Yumi. They should have handed him over to the police. But human consideration outweighed all other considerations.

His duty as a doctor made Dr Sadao save the life of even a dying enemy. His wife Yumi understood his dilemma and realised that in the conflict between his sense of national loyalty and his duty as a doctor, it was the latter which proved dominant. She supports her husband and helps him in his efforts to heal the wounded man. Though the sight of the white man was repulsive to her, she washes his face and upper body. The surgery is successful, and the couple settles into a period of hope and fear as they await the patient’s recovery.

Noted actors Shankar Roy as Dr Sadao Hoki and Nivedita Sircar as Yumi stole the show. Subhash Chakraborty as Col Takima shaped his character capably as the cunning Japanese officer. Welldesigned costume and makeup by Soma Kar and Sudip Biswas’s traditional Japanese set added value to this production.

Last but not least, playwright and director Rabishankar Kar created an audio-visual splendour on stage with traditional Japanese music, effective alluring special effect lighting and beautifully-choreographed sequences, which instantly transports the audience to a war-trodden town.