Sale Date Ended
Sale Date Ended
There are undoubtedly greater living playwrights, but only Dario Fo can create a dramatic situation where the line “Mein toh pehli baar dekh rahi hoon ek police waale ki pregnant laash"” sounds perfectly natural. This play is set in a 'modest working class flat' and is Fo's first of its kind comedy insofar as it focuses on the problems in the economy from the viewpoint of the housewife struggling to afford the ever rising prices in the shops.
The play centres on a spontaneous demonstration by housewives against rising prices at the local supermarket. Crazy disasters pile on top of each other as two of them try to cope with the results of their own actions - without telling their husbands what they have been up to. Laxmi, and her friend Mala, try desperately to hide their 'liberated' goods before their "self righteous" husbands and the police catch up with them.
This situation turns into a wild farce, however, when they have to feign spontaneous pregnancies to hide them. But this is just the surface of a play about social activism, conformism, capitalism, labor rights, discrimination against women, and transplanted babies. Like in all Dario Fo plays, it’s never about just one thing. The simplicity of the main plot permits him to digress into several ideas, some often provocative. The play has merit in predicting a bit of our own world today.
In a way, the worldwide social movements and the leaderless revolutions started through Facebook and other social networks, unmediated through official or institutionalised channels, transversal to all classes and ages, have their genesis in Fo’s ideas of the importance of people getting united and doing something. This too more closely reflects anarchist rather than communist, or socialist, values. The play is also remarkable for its feminist views. Fo frequently compares the exploitation of male workers with the unspoken exploitation of women in society in general, at the hands of their husbands.
Curiously, it’s the women and not the men who show some backbone in the play: they’re the first to think of self-reduction and they prove to have more courage than their husbands, who are initially horrified by their crimes. "Chukayenge Nahin" is a roller coaster ride where everything goes. The struggle to make ends meet and the loss of jobs is the cost that working class carry in the fight against inflation. Women empty supermarket shelves as a protest against rising inflation, their "idealistic" husbands pilfer bags of sugar which have fallen off the back of a lorry.
Phantom pregnancies, saints, and curses are all invented to stop the police from nabbing the culprits who raided the store. Coffins and undertakers (tabootwala) both appear in the plot to dispose of the spoils before the spouses find out what their partners have done. If you’re in need of an anti-depressive, this is the cure. But, if with this play you open your mouths to laugh perhaps you will also open your minds to look into the problems surrounding us.