Dramatic Technique as Revealed in Vijay Tendulkar’s Play, "Silence! The Court is In Session"

“Effectiveness of assertion is the Alpha and Omega of style”. – Preface of Man and Superman, George Bernard Shaw.

The line bears ample truth in Tendulkar. He strives for this effectiveness of assertion in a variety of ways. Silence! The Court is in Session is his perfect creation. A multifaceted dramaturgic skill is employed here in this drama. Stage within a stage, importance of absentee character, the problem of identity and feminine assertion and above all the poetic language are accurately and effectively interwoven in his dramatic pattern.

Wikipedia Vijay Tendulkar
Tendulkar is a problem playwright. The recurring themes in his play points out the social, individual and ethical problems. The soul of his dramas is the conflict between reality and illusion, life and art. In short, they are the conflicts between the individual and the society where circumstances and environment play great roles. Without being sentimental and emotional his characters are stark realism. Silence! The Court is in Session is a search for reality and feminine identity. Broadly the play focuses on the role of woman in the patriarchal society.

The woman has no room of their own and they live under constant pressure of patriarchal restriction. The identity of a woman, her urge for a social importance, economic sufficiency and moral acceptance constitute the pivotal issue in Silence! The Court is in Session. The protagonist Leela Benare begs a judgment at the play court for her respect restored. The lonely she is deserted by an absent culprit Prof. Damle by whom she is pregnant. Being an unmarried mother, her predicament amidst the hostile middle class and sentimental male chauvinism becomes more acute. She begs a judgment and wishes to be an independent individual determined to retain her identity and individualism at lofty heights. If Justice be a play for the Ruth’s helpless suffering if Middlemarch recounts more harsh treatment to Dorotha because of her refusal to conform, Benare in Tendulkar’s play is a resistant to gender bias and to uncover the hoax obscene social platform in Indian middleclass. Silence! The Court is in Session is truly a problem play.

Silence! ………… o is an intense and detailed scrutiny of the art of theatre itself. Here is given a focus on theatre as one of the social institutions. Life in the play stated is full of theatrical activity. Theatre is a device of infallible weapon to perceive and discover the truth prevails in society. Such propaganda is told in the play. Infect, the characters in the play are mostly actors or other theatrical personalities. The cross current of acting personae and the personal social identity gives the drama an obsessive compulsion into reality. The play or the rehearsal of court proceeding within the play is the central action and the key to very mystery of the plot. Tendulkar succeeds in giving and justifying the truth after reaching the end of mock trial. Simulation, dissimulation, acting, role playing are the weapons that he resorts throughout the play, to achieve his objectives – unmasking the male chauvinism.

Silence! ………. is also rich with imagery. Vivid descriptions, carefully chosen words and phrases and many a references of image clusters and many symbolic, incidental parallels give the play a compact fabric of the dramatist’s design. For example, while entering, the faulty latch of the door draws blood from Benare’s hand which symbolically hints the inevitable suffering. Further the room locked outside also hints the labyrinth. The green clothed parrot, half serious half childish talk, and many such references can be given as Benare’s sweet soft heart and her innermost thoughts, feelings, passions and motives. The mock court is a game where only but a narrow line divides a theatricality and actuality. The more the games are played, tricks are lodged, and the play becomes harder and acute. The comic and bunter becomes ironical sting.

If the subject is guided by its culture value system the answer is exclusionary. Thus, the problems of identity, middle class sentimentalism, male domination or patriarchal society, in the matter of discussion, reveal an acute observation of Tendulkar which are never pointless, hypocrite, scrupulous or double dealing. Through the theatrical elements, cluster of theatrical personalities and above all, Benare, Tendulkar has attempted the self justification of feminine identity and highlights the inferiority of contemporary society.

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