They say patience is a virtue. But, the question is how long one can have their patience and how it feels to wait for someone you love for ages. Can somebody devote their whole life to someone just waiting for them to be in their life?
If you want to seek the answers to the above questions, watch the Munmun drama, being staged at Mandala Theatre, Kathmandu. Of course, it is a story of a boring long wait, but it makes you love the theatrical art more as you go watch it. Nonetheless, the performance might look both relevant and irrelevant at the same time.
A story of every family
Munmun is an adaptation of a chapter from Buddhisagar’s Phirphire, by scriptwriter and director Samrat Bhujel.
As the drama opens, a tragic conversation between a couple is taking place on the stage. The husband is about to leave for Muglan, or a foreign land, as he wants to earn money and bring valuable jewellery to his wife.
However, the wife does not want to stay distant from her husband. Neither does she expect anything from her husband but being together with him.
The Munmun drama is still relevant to the present context in Nepal as almost every family in Nepal has someone working or studying abroad. Every day, thousands of people leave the country for foreign employment. They leave with a hope for a bright future working as a foreign employee and they even leave behind their beloveds.
The play revolves around various themes ranging from the melancholy one feels in the absence of loved ones to superstitious beliefs regarding witchcraft. But, it mainly focuses on the struggles of waiting for someone until the last minute.
Munmun features diverse characters, with some of the most prominent being Munmun (acted by Prashansa Shiwakoti), Pawan (acted by Shreeshesh Shrestha), Basanta (acted by Diggaj Khatri), and Juthi Aama (acted by Manisha Ojha).
Whereas the plot of the Munmum drama, overall, is relevant to the Nepali context, there are some features that you cannot easily relate to reality.
The friendship between Pawan and Basanta shows the importance of having good friends in life. Pawan’s effort to recover Basanta’s memory, which he loses in a road accident, depicts true friendship, too true to be truthful in today’s context.
In the meantime, Munmun’s and Juthi Aama’s dedication to waiting for their beloveds for ages shows how hard it is to forget someone whom you have loved. However, in this world, the respect of Mumun and Juthi Aama for their lovers seems irrelevant. It is very hard to find such a relationship in a modern time where people tend to move on as soon as possible and focus on their busy lives.
Yet, the actors in the Munmum drama have justified their roles with their realistic acting skills that flow naturally.
The drama has nine scenes and all the scenes are set in different settings. In each scene, the actors themselves change the props. Their effort to change the setting in every scene is appreciable, but in some scenes, it feels that they are taking a long time, which breaks the audience’s concentration.
Munmun mostly follows a tragic and serious story yet has a comical side. It means you can get laughs while watching the play. The character of Rocky Dada, portrayed by Samrat Bhujel, and his lads, who are often drunk, make you laugh with their antics.
The best part of the Munmun drama rests in its music. Kishor Maharjan on guitar, Suva Maharjan on dhime and tabla and Manoj Maharjan on flute have done a marvellous job. Likewise, the frequent dance performance by Shristhi Maharjan has added colour to that music.
Similarly, the light work in the play is impressive, setting the right mood for certain emotions that the characters depict depending on the scenes. Kudos to Aditya Mishra for making it happen.
The only thing bothering the Munmun drama is the unnecessarily used foggy effects, which do not add any significance to the play but irritate the audience.
Munmun will run through March 4 at Mandala Theatre, Kathmandu, at 5:15 pm every day except Mondays. There will be an additional show on Saturday at 1:30 pm.