May 1 marked International Labour Day. Marking this day Department of Theatre and Performance Studies of University of Dhaka has brought up a play. The play has been adapted from Maxim Gorky’s “The Lower Depths.” It will be staged at Natya Mandal of University of Dhaka on May 11. The drama for contemporary Bangladeshis has been directed by Tanvir Nahid Khan. It was first translated into Bengali by Tanvir Mokammel.
After it was staged in 1902 in the brewing environment for Russia’s social revolution, the drama faced criticisms. The presentation of the lower classes was viewed as overly dark and unredemptive thanks to Konstantin Stanislavsky’s modern realistic acting techniques, and Gorky was clearly more interested in creating memorable characters than in advancing a formal plot. However, in this respect, the play is generally regarded as a masterwork.
The story is confined within a gloomy attic where most disadvantaged people of the society take recluse. Among the inhabitants is a thief, a gambler, a labourer, key maker, cobbler, a failed actor and a former aristocrat who has lost everything to misfortune. These people feel no remorse, no kindness for others. The sickness and ultimate death of one of the inhabitant’s spouse moves the others very little. Grief and farcical turnouts in their own life help them little to pay attention to anything human. One day from nowhere an old man comes to the cottage to tell the people down underneath about human kindness, dignity. But the sudden murder of the cottage owner throws back that dimming light of hope. The poor ones again get back to their harsh realities and attempts to seek condolences in altered imaginations which often result in failure as one finally chooses suicide.