Halfway House Essay

‘Aadhe Adhure’ or ‘Halfway House’ has frequently been described as a cross between Naturalist Theatre and Theatre of the Absurd. Interestingly. both these elements really undercut each other as theatrical motions and are said to hold polarized western theater. Naturalism argues for heredity and a planetary position on human behaviour. which is said to develop out of the societal environment in which a peculiar single lives. On the contrary. Absurdism believes that there are no solutions to the enigmas of being because ultimately adult male is entirely. forced to execute insistent actions in a universe without significance.

This drama has many elements of Naturalist theater. including a additive motion. a limited clip span. an in-depth psychological word picture and a defined beginning. center and terminal. However. the gap line– “Once once more. the same thing all over again…” steadfastly typecasts it as a portion of Absurdist theater. as from the start itself there is a intimation at disk shape of events and a hopelessness and platitude defined by the repeat of the word ‘again’ in the short sentence.

Mohan Rakesh borrowed a common device from the theater of the Absurd and in ‘Aadhe Adhure’ . for the first clip in Indian theater the same histrion was used to play five characters. Harmonizing to Rakesh. “The adult female is the cardinal character and I want the four work forces to be played by the same histrion. What I want to bespeak by that is that it’s non the single who’s responsible for his state of affairs. for he would hold made the same pick no affair what. regardless of the state of affairs. Any pick anyone makes has a certain sarcasm in it. for things turn out the same regardless of the pick. ”

Though it was passed off by some critics as a catch employed by the dramatist. its thematic relevancy came to the bow when Rajinder Nath. reverse to his ain positions on the importance of the technique. directed the drama utilizing five different histrions for the functions. The decision was felt to be badly missing as the impression of built-in ‘similarity’ in all the work forces which underlines the flood tide of the drama failed to hold the same impact. Interestingly. though Savitri implies that it is beneath their visual aspect. that this ‘same man’ exists. the deduction is merely forceful for the audience because of the coincident ocular impact of one adult male playing different functions.

Harmonizing to Nath himself it was a powerful theatrical device “to show how harmonizing to one’s convenience the same adult male can set on different masks depending on the state of affairs in which he is placed” .

That the auctorial position corroborates with this statement is clear from the prologue where the ‘Man in the black suit’ equates individuality with fluidness and calls himself vague. Each character. given a certain set of fortunes. can busy the topographic point of another. This besides follows the premise that there is no existent development or development of character ; the character at the beginning of the drama will non be shaped otherwise by the state of affairs. implementing the thought of a catholicity of experience. that “things turning out the same regardless of choice” .

The prologue defines the drama as ‘amorphous’ . The audience is told that there is a spot of each character in all of them. Those watching the drama and even those outside the theater. The characters are said to be people “you bump into by opportunity in the street” emphasizing the disaffection of urban crowd from one another as the beginning of difference every bit good as similarity. since they are all nameless. faceless people who can easy acquire lost in a crowd comprising of the same. Therefore. one adult male can play five characters because they are. in kernel. the same adult male. This similitude is reiterated by the naming of the characters in their duologues. non separately. but instead as First Man. Second Man. etc. Harmonizing to the Hindi version of the drama. the Man in the Black Suit “has a expression of civility with a touch of cynicism” ; the face of the First adult male “expresses the incapacitated torment of holding lost the conflict of life” ; the Second Man is “self-satisfied and yet a small insecure” ; the Third Man “projects an air of person who is committed to a life of convenience” ; and the Fourth Man “looks older. quite mature and shrewd” .

They have different features. life styles and manners of address. yet harmonizing to critics Nita Kumar and N. S. Dharan. this device makes usage of the built-in impression of roleplaying which includes the construct of freedom ; to feign and be whatever one likes. Every adult male remains an histrion and hence. it is easy for him to set up a facade and to conceal his interiority harmonizing to the demands of the state of affairs. This construct is emphasized non by the fact that the same adult male plays all the characters. but instead by the fact that it is possible for the same adult male to play all the characters. Simply by altering his costume and facial look. he manages to alter into a different individual wholly. Therefore. the averment of the prologue of the exchangeability of these characters is apprehensible.

The debatable component in the drama arises out of the contention of the Man in the Black Suit that interchange of functions can take topographic point non merely between the work forces in the drama but besides between the adult male and the adult female. This strikes a discordant note as. harmonizing to critic Arti Mathur. it negates Savitri’s gender-specific battle against societal restraints. One of the biggest parts to the ‘sameness’ of the multiple characters is that they are all work forces. And work forces. by the patriarchal definition particularly prevailing in urban middle-class India. hold a certain social function which leads to their convergence into one adult male. Irrespective of fortunes their place in society is defined while that of the adult female is defined in relation to the adult male.

However. the statement is non wholly incorrect either as Savitri. as the breadwinner of the family is really the ‘man of the house’ . Every society has an economic base and a cultural superstructure. which is derived from the base. In Halfway House. the base has shifted and it is the married woman who is economically independent. nevertheless. the calamity of the ironically named Savitri lies in the fact that the superstructure has non shifted in conformity with the base. Mahendranath has non become the domestic Centre merely because of his parturiency to the house ; Savitri is still required to carry through her ‘womanly’ domestic responsibilities. She is defined by the context of what it means to be a adult female and has internalized the patriarchal system. This is besides made clear by Savitri’s disdain of what she believes is Mahendranath’s deficiency of manfulness. She despises his dependence on herself every bit good as Juneja and invariably hunts for flight paths through other. more suited work forces.

An component of abstractionism is brought in. in which even the characters seem to be cognizant of an implicit in similarity between the work forces. a device non available to them as characters. Askok’s study of Singhania leads Savitri to inquire Binni if the portrayal reminds her of person. and on being asked. “Whom” . she replies “Your male parent. ” This intermingling of the drama and the outside elements draws attending to this device.

There is sarcasm in the fact that one of the ways in which these work forces are really the ‘same’ is in their development of Savitri. Harmonizing to critic Veena Das. these characters are rarely all of a piece. they are the broken images of a decomposing society.

Mahendranath is a self-described ‘parasite’ and is subsequently shockingly revealed to be a former wife-beater. His inability to keep the place of the ‘head’ of the household has made him acrimonious and leery ; surmising his married woman of illicit affairs. which. although hinted at are ne’er confirmed by the text. His ‘unmanliness’ makes Savitri lose all regard for him. till their matrimony is reduced to a fake of public outlooks.

Singhania dainties Savitri with superciliousness and his ‘favors’ are granted with an obvious air of patronization. His grandiloquent mode and address is calculated to do the hearer feel inferior. a fact that is explicitly stated by Ashok. However. in Savitri’s eyes his place as her foreman and his salary makes him ‘superior’ and she remains soundless in face of his thinly-veiled insinuation and his humiliation placement of her as “one of his child’s ‘aunties’” . His rough behaviour is a imitation of the sexual development that adult females have to cover with in work topographic points.

Jagmohan is introduced about an antithesis of Mahendra. He is debonair. successful. with a man-of-the-world air and is presented as the 11th hr savior. He is the lone result available to her from the “hell” that her house has become to her. However. this evident proactive place loses much of its worth as it is weakened by the fact that she waits for Jagmohan to ‘fetch’ her. She overlooks his shot at her disbursal and goes with him volitionally. an act in rebelliousness of society which is merely rewarded by rejection. Again. this apparently perfect adult male is unable to supply her with emotional support or security. Her disillusioned return drives home the point that there is no flight path left available for her.

The point of concern becomes the fact that though Savitri is an economically independent adult female. her agencies of ‘escape’ from the house is linked to a adult male. Savitri. in her hunt for the “complete man” speaks in the linguistic communication of patriarchate. as the construct of ‘masculinity’ is a derivative of society. Even though she is a ‘modern. independent’ adult female. she is unable to cut off the smothering patriarchal bonds of the environment in which she lives.

The Fourth Man. Juneja is introduced onto the phase around this point. He additions the understanding of the audience by demoing kindness towards Kinni. a character who is about perfectly neglected in the drama. He comes as a voice of reason ; as an about all-knowing character. He seems to hold intimate cognition of both Savitri and Mahendranath. every bit good as their fortunes. His seems to be the projected auctorial voice in the drama. His expressions and mode of address is structured so as to do the audience favor his point-of-view and appraisal of character.

Juneja espouses the belief that to Savitri the significance of life is “how many different things you can hold and bask at the same clip. ” He lays the incrimination for the current state of affairs of hopelessness forthrightly on her shoulder and her pursuit for the “complete man” . Harmonizing to him the job is non a societal world. but alternatively lies in the psychological kingdom. All of the work forces she brushs are uncomplete and hence her solution is multiplicity. Her manner of make fulling her nothingness is “excess” . And she is merely attracted to work forces because. “they are non Mahendra. ” Harmonizing to Juneja. if she had married one of the work forces whom she is attracted to she would hold still felt she had married the incorrect adult male.

Juneja brings in another component of abstractionism by accurately telling the brush between Jagmohan and Savitri because “in his topographic point I would hold said the same” . Once once more this brings forth the ‘sameness’ of these characters. as Juneja’s claim is validated by Savitri’s shattering realization- “All of you…every one of you…all likewise! Precisely the same. Different masks. but the face… ? The same deplorable face…every individual one of you! ”

The calamity of the realisation is heightened by Juneja’s ruthless perusal- “And yet you felt you had a choice… ? Was there truly any pick? Tell me. was at that place? ”

In the above dialogues lies the greatest significance of that peculiar theatrical device. It brings out a clear duality between the ideal and the existent. What Savitri has been prosecuting all along. the ‘ideal man’ does non in fact exist. The impression of her holding had a ‘choice’ has been illusive all along ; she is trapped in a universe with no issue. The drama shifts focal point to deficiency of freedom for a female in urban. middle-class India. The calamity is that Juneja’s address provides a double closing for Savitri ; both in her hunt for the ‘perfect’ adult male who can “fill her void” . every bit good as an recognition that she shall ne’er derive satisfaction. and related to that. felicity.

In naturalism. free will is non denied but is contained and confined within the environment in which the person lives. Savitri’s free will is her ability to take but the fulfilment of that pick depends on the context. Her freedom is linked to a adult male. She is free to take which adult male. but it has to be a adult male. The semblance of pick arises from the four work forces and her ‘independence’ is related to switching from one adult male to the other.

In the prologue. the Man in the Black Suit had asked the existentialist inquiry of ‘who am I’ . This is now problematized. as the dramatic invention of utilizing the same adult male for multiple characters casts uncertainty on whether there is an ‘I’ at all. ‘I’ refers to individualism. the being of a self different from the ‘other’ . a projection that the work forces in the drama are all different which is negated through Juneja’s address. Savitri uses the linguistic communication of societal pragmatism to warrant her belief that she moves on to other work forces because Mahendra is non the right adult male. Juneja uses the linguistic communication of absurdism to joint that there is no ‘right man’ ; her hunt is futile because such a adult male does non be. All the work forces in her life are basically the same adult male and can merely fulfill her for a limited period of clip.

Surprisingly. the text does non take up to its realist decision ; that she is trapped because of the prohibitions of the society in which she lives. a universe in which a adult female has no pick in her ain fate. It. in fact. veers from its evident initial realist stance of ‘all work forces are the same in a patriarchy’ and seems to propose that all work forces are the same merely to Savitri. Halfway House has frequently been described as a woman-centric misogynous drama. “Even as the drama builds up a dark vision of at bay humanity. it weakens the force of its statement by at the same time cutting Savitri’s certificates. ” ( Nita Kumar ) . The drama does non connote that if the lone conditions were different or could be changed so Savitri would be able to get away from the ‘trap’ . alternatively her gender is morally condemned. she ought non be able to get away.

Juneja contends that all the work forces who had come into her life were different. They were persons with their ain diverse features and. harmonizing to critic Veena Das. what made Savitri see them as parts of the same fractioned entities was her ain “diseased imagination” . Juneja. in stating that all work forces are the same. is seeking to specify the indispensable nature of desire. Desire is ever in surplus of the person and can ne’er be wholly satiated. The scaring facet of desire lies in its infiniteness. All work forces are the same because they are looked at through Savitri’s desire. the fact that they will all finally be unable to fulfill her is the ground for their ‘sameness’ . Their amorphousness derives from the fact that they change in conformity with Savitri’s appraisal of them. The nonnatural nature of desire will ever do her move on to other work forces and hunt for completeness. It seems to propose that every being is half-incomplete. it is non a calamity. but instead a fact of being. and Savitri. in her hunt for masculine flawlessness and inability to accept this fact. is herself responsible for her ruination.

Unexpectedly once more. the drama doesn’t build up even to the absurdist decision ; it does non propose that everybody in essentialness is like Savitri. because desire is cosmopolitan. transcending every person. Alternatively. the elements of Naturalism every bit good as Absurdism are developed merely to put the incrimination on Savitri’s built-in nature. which is considered responsible for the devastation of this peculiar household. She stands the last accused and the drama ends before there can be any possibility of defence on her behalf.

Interestingly. though certain relationships in life are deterministic. including that of a mother-daughter. sister-brother. etc. the same can non be said about partners ; nevertheless. in this really context the linguistic communication used by Juneja is the concluding linguistic communication of containment. of absolute. stiff determinism. As before mentioned. the device of one adult male playing multiple functions is that of the histrion and is non available to the character. and therefore it is important that the visual of the drama itself shows that nil can be changed. Juneja’s address corresponds to the construction of the drama. which has to come from without and hence indicates a concurrency with the playwright’s position.

Harmonizing to critic Kirti Jain. this device loses a small of its relevancy in the existent phase public presentation as the focal point of the audience is drawn chiefly towards the apparels. idiosyncrasies and voice of that one histrion instead than the thematic import. However. there is no ambiguity on the fact that the nature of the drama can non be understood without a mention to this peculiar device. Through this. the country of push alterations wholly from the ‘universality of human experience’ . and the ultimate animadversion is non of society. or even the fortunes. but instead of Savitri’s wanting nature. Her deficiency of restraint and inexplicit gender stand accused as the indispensable grounds for what makes her place an uncomplete. halfway house.


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