Polart Productions’ acclaimed one-hander God Gave Me This Life, written and directed by Vivian Moodley and starring Pranesh Maharaj, returns by popular demand to the Durban stage next month.. Following several sold-out runs when it was done in Hindi as Bhagwan Gave Me This Life, the play will be performed in English at the Catalina Theatre from 10 to 13 September.
“The story is specific to the time and area; and if you are from that generation then it will bring back memories, make you laugh and shed a tear. If not, then it will give you a sense of history and cultural heritage,” says Moodley.
Set in 1981 in Inanda, we meet Balram, a widower at a major turning point in his existence as he looks back on his life with its high and low points…. He recollects, with much jest; his family, the neighbours, the extended family, his in-laws, his engagement, his marriage, his child, his parents and even the in law’s dog.
Balram’s wife Lalita was introduced to him via a family arrangement by two eccentric aunties from Ottawa and Inanda. The proudest of his family was his brother, Sukhram, who involved himself in the wedding. The brothers shared a very tight enduring bond. The plot of the play centres on the couple’s inability to have a child at first. Balram’s parents longed for a grandchild until years later a son is born. The traditional values of an old community, the wood-and-iron house, the nostalgia of the music we listened to and spiritual guidance instilled in us over the years come to the fore in this dramatization of our inner wars.
Once a musician with a great fondness for music and the arts, Balram would sing and play instruments, while his wife danced. Until like many musicians, his passion slowly died with the realisation that he was not as admired for his skills as he once hoped to be. Caught up in the drudgery of daily life, he finds himself in a dilemma; but trudges on, following the master of all anticipations: Hope.
Then tragedy upon tragedy starts to reveal that all before him has been lies multiplied by lies. Balram, seeing himself as a pawn in a treacherous game, opens him to the Bard’s most famous question: “To be or not to be?” Seeing the human condition as a compilation of conflicting emotions and ideals, this broken man finds he is left with fewer dilemmas in the end. Maybe the only contemplation will be ‘what type of noose?’
God Gave Me This Life runs from Thursday the 10 September 2015 until Sunday 13 September with two showings on Saturday and Sunday at the Catalina Theatre, Wilson’s Wharf. Ticket prices range from R60 upwards with various discounts. Tickets are available at COMPUTICKET and all Shoprite Checkers outlets. Early Bird discounted tickets at R100 pp are available until 25 August. Thereafter, tickets are R120 pp. Group bookings are available at R90 pp (10 or more). Student Card Holders pay R80 pp (Varsity or College), pensioners R60 pp. Performance Dates and Times: 10 Sept @ 19h00; 11 Sept @ 20h00; 12 and 13 Sept @ 14h00 and 18h00.
Some views from previous seasons:
“I am well aware of Maharaj’s talents but this production offers the chance for him to showcase them all. Enacting certain scenes from his (Balram’s) memory, he shows his versatility in speech and body language, often breaking into song while using a paint tin as a drum or dancing in true cultural fashion. An accomplished storyteller, he runs the gamut of emotions from engaging joviality, forceful command or drunkenness to uncertainty, poignant tenderness or devastated grief. It all leads up to a dramatic ending.” – Caroline Smart
“One of the greatest and most talented actors I am proud to know, Pranesh Maharaj. The world will see your great talent as you brought your ‘A’ game, touched our hearts and had our attention 100% Bhagwan gave me this life is to date the best drama we have watched.” – Rahul Brijnath
“Outstandingly compelling theatre by Pranesh Maharaj in Bhagwan Gave Me This Life. Engaging emotions, delicate presentation and a real journey of tragedy. A must watch.” – Taresh Harreepershad
“Bhagwan gave me this Life is a one man play packed with non-stop energy and amazing talent. Pranesh Maharaj once again was superb. He is an engaging, dynamic and a very talented artist. He is an exceptional musician and riveting performer. A superb performance. Well done brother! A highly recommended play.” – Karthiegesan Pillay
“Bhagwan gave me this Life - One word "Brilliant!" it’s a must see. This spectacular play definitely took me back to my roots, especially as we lived in that situation in Inanda. Well Done Pranesh!” – Pravesh Khelawan.
Come watch this beautiful play and experience theatre at its most riveting!