Author: Girish Karnad
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN/UPC (if available): 0195644433
Girish Karnad's latest play is based on a little- known myth from the Mahabharata. Intrigued by the tale's dramatic possibilities when he first came upon it, he worked on it for 37 years, finally completing it when the prestigious Guthrie Theatre of Minneapolis, USA, commissioned him to write a play for them.
Karnad originally wrote it in Kannada and has now translated it into English.
The action of the play is centered around a seven-year long fire sacrifice designed to persuade the gods to send rain. The narrative is taut and the play fraught with unremitting tension, as betrayal, murder and seduction enmesh the characters who live out their destinies in a tumult of elemental passions.
With its philosophical underpinnings, the play illuminates universal themes of love, jealousy and loneliness as it sweeps towards an unexpected denouement.
The Notes by the playwright shed light on the background and important aspects of this powerful play and should be especially helpful to readers unacquainted with Indian mythology.