26th October 1997


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The hunt is on!

By Rajpal Abeynayake

The Workshop Players keep going and going. That's not bad at all, since serious drama is now all but passe. The temperamental Mr Jerome De Silva, the guru for the players ( father figure, patriach etc., etc., ) has now come up with a combustible production, which he says "plays to epic proportions."

What with Che Guvera resurrected , and the romance associated with South America alive and kicking, "Royal Hunt of the Sun'' , a play about the Spanish conquest of the Inca civilisation is chic on time.

South America, particularly Argentina and Peru fairly smells of its strong pungent rebellious political tradition, and there is a combination of poverty and human spirit that fairly foments rebellion. ( Which other continent, even in the present day, will produce Guzman, the Tupac Amaru and Che?).

The wellspring of this inspired discontent, however, had its origins long long ago in the past, when a ( strangely socialist - like ) ancient civilisation was plundered by the rapacious conquering Spanish.

What's been written about the fall of the Inca civilisation, since then, has been legion.

Peter Shaffer's play is in the same tradition, and generally goes all the way in depicting in detail, and in a sensitive but graphic way the clash of two systems. The garroting of Atahualpa, the Inca ruler and descendant of the Sun god, the chess-like mindgames played on the Inca's and the music, as evocative and period as possible is powerful stuff. In a manner of speaking, this is not a play for the faint hearted, eh?

Gen Pizzaro is played by a man who looks the part, Mohammed Adamally, a casting director's dream because even Pizarro couldn't have looked this much like Pizzaro. New young blood plays Atahualpa.

A playThe play, predictably, from the snatches I saw of it, has the typical Jerome De Silva flourishes in it, the special effects and the epic like sometimes stylised quality. But, Jerome de Silva has to look like Jerome de Silva even as Pizzaro has to look like Pizzaro.

On considered thoughts, its the right choice of play, because the workshop players encompass a large pool of aspiring actors. To accommodate them all, one would have to go for a production of this sort.

But, it's also Jerome's stamp. His productions have to be big. So, even a rather more serious choice of play, has to nevertheless be a big roaring production.

This will be in tune with current Colombo' tastes too, so there wouldn't be much of a problem there. Colombo now goes for drama for the family and though not a musical, this is drama for the family to boot.

But, the South American political theme, is one that can be done well if done well. Reviewers to come would say whether Jerome got it all right, but it's a romance, ambience and a pungent kind of pathos that can be created from hard human stuff that any heart except a dead heart will relate to. Whether Jerome can hunt that down, the next week will tell....

(Royal hunt of the Sun plays till next Sunday.)

Watch out for that three-ring circus!

Nowadays, the Arabic newspapers are carrying full pages of photographs of the newly-wedded. Summer is the main season for marriage in the Gulf region. I guess, it's the summer heat.

I'd like to say a few things to those yet-to-be newly-weds.

You have repressed all your fears and are proceeding with the wedding plans. Fine, if that's what you really want to do.

It's obviously to be hoped that you have insisted on paying for your own wedding - that way it will be completely yours and not your parents'. It's further hoped that you've decided on a big wedding, sparing no expense. Starting a marriage in crushing debt builds character, assuming you survive.

On the other hand, why not begin married life with your parents in crushing debt instead of you? Don't worry about the financial hardship your parents will be forced to endure just so you can be happy on your wedding day. A parent's financial participation in a child's wedding in no way increases the amount of pressure placed on the child to have a successful marriage (how could your parents possibly exert any more pressure).

Keep your options open after you've accepted a proposal of marriage.

It's never too late to back out of a plan to get married. Don't allow considerations about money to force you to go ahead with a marriage you don't want.

Even after spending thousands of dirhams on engraved wedding invitations, you can simply decide not to send them out. A few thousands of dirhams investment down the drain is nothing compared to the alternative of ruining the rest of your life. You can always tear the printed portion of the invitation off and use the blank piece and the envelopes for personal stationery. And with a little imagination - like taking up the hem and cutting off the seed pearls - even a bridal gown can be transformed into a practical dress for the home or office.

Just because a hundred relatives are coming in from the furthest-flung parts doesn't mean you have to go through with the wedding. Your relatives have probably wanted to see you for a long time anyway, and will be pleased just to have a family reunion.

Backing out of marriage on the day of your wedding is the greatest opportunity to avoid entanglement of all. Except for one: backing out during the actual ceremony.

Do not fall under the popular misconception that backing out during the actual ceremony is a failure, a copout, or something of which to be ashamed.

When the clergyman says the equivalent of "Do you take this man (or woman) to be your lawfully wedded husband (or wife)?" is the ideal time to seriously address yourself to this question.

You probably think that "Yes" or 'No" are the only possible responses but this is only due to shortsightedness on your part. The following are just a few of the possible responses to the question.

While the clergyman is waiting for your answer turn around and scan the wedding party. See if there might be anybody else who'd suit you better as a mate. If you see anybody whom you find more attractive or more appealing, simply turn back to the clergyman and say: "I think not."

If you're uncertain what to answer the clergyman and need a little more time to think about it, say, "Can I come back to you about that?"

If you're the bride, take this moment to consider how sexist it is for the woman to have to commit herself first. Why should a woman have to say, "Yes" first and leave herself open to a possible rejection if the groom decides to back out? You might reply instead: "Why don't you ask him first? Why do I always have to be the one to make decisions?"

Or you can make a conditional response: "I will if he will."

Let's say you've both answered the clergyman's question affirmatively. You can take your mind off the enormity of what you've just committed yourself to by focusing on something extraneous. Like the expense of the wedding reception .

Walk around and subtly remind everybody who is eating anything what it cost you: "I do hope you like that ten dirham canape you're eating?" Or: "Excuse me, you probably don't spend hundred dirham a piece when you go out to a restaurant, but that's what it's costing us to feed you today."

Just pray that you can make back most of the cost of food and drink from their wedding gifts.

Furthermore, to the yet-to-be wedded I'd like to add:

o Always get married early in the morning. That way if it doesn't work out, you haven't wasted the whole day.

o Love is a three-ring circus. Engagement ring, wedding ring and suffer-ring.

o It is true that opposites should marry. That's why there's usually a male and female involved.

o The ideal marriage is the union of a deaf man and a blind woman.

o It's bloody impractical to love, honour and obey. If it weren't you wouldn't have to sign a contract.

o One marriage in four ends in divorce - the other three fight it out to the bitter end.

o Marriage may be the real road to happiness, but there are a lot of good side trails.

o "I'd rather be a beggar and single than a queen and married." Queen ElizabethI

o "AII tragedies are finished by a death. All comedies are ended by a marriage." Byron, Don Juan.


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