Fida/Phaedra

The play takes its core from Jean Racine’s Phaedra, which has similar echoes in the famous legend of Loona from Punjab. This story has been scripted for this dramatic adaptation by Surjit Patar. The music has been composed by B.V. Karanth.

The play deals with Fida’s unconventional love and yearning for her step-son Harman. The nature of her love damns her in her own eyes and she chooses death as a resolution to her passion. Since her husband is believed to be dead her confidant and maid persuades Fida to reveal her love, as the death of her husband alters the course of her destiny. Her maid tries to free her from her overwhelming sense of guilt, as her relationship with her step-son is determined by her husband. With his death her love becomes like any ordinary love, freed from social constraints.

Emboldened by these circumstances, Rani Fida reveals her uncontrollable love to Harman. Confused by his silence, she tries the desperate step of trying to lure him with promises of the throne and land. At this point the maid returns with the news that the king is alive. Rani Fida is devastated as her earlier private feelings have now been shared with Harman. In a state of total and utter confusion she allows the maid to tell her husband that his son had tried to seduce her. In total and all consuming rage the king curses his son.

Distraught by this news Rani Fida goes to plead for Harman’s life and reveals her guilt only to discover that harman loves another woman, Arcia. Fida succumbs to jealousy and keeps quiet. Her silence unleashes a series of tragic events that lead to the final climax. In this play we are dealing with matters of convention and tradition, transforming the innocence of love into a negative experience. How society and its deep rooted attitudes determine who one should love and how much. Fida’s love, combined with her moral conscience and her super human efforts, are powerless against the fatality of passion.

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