Theatrical Company MIST Lives Up to Expectations Again with “Ron”

Cast of the production of “Ron” on the March 2–3 weekend at the Matchbox.

BY SANCHALI BASU

HOUSTON: The theatrical company MIST (Masks, Issues, & Stages Traversed) came through again with their much awaited latest production “Ron,” at the Matchbox in Midtown during March 2 and 3. The word ‘Ron’ means war in Bengali, which is the theme of the entire play which revolves around the conflict and emotions created by war in a subsection of the Bengali immigrantsin the US, touched by war in some form or the other.

The main protagonist of the play is Ron (Abhishek) Mitra, a US Army soldier deployed in Iraq after the 911 attack on the US. He has grown up in the US in an immigrant Bengali family, father Animesh (Jaydip) being a professor, and mother Shanti, (Santasri) which means peace in Sanskrit, a housewife. Raised in a conventional, nonviolent, sedate environment in Bengal, the parents have not come to terms with Ron joining the army, and are in a constant state of anxiety and tension.

The play builds up with flashes from the past, to acquaint the audience with the parent-son equation and understand that parents cannot dictate what their child chooses to do in life, since many themselves did not listen to their parents while choosing a career path.

Gradually the other characters are introduced: Nanda (Subhodip), a friend of the Mitras; Bidisha (Nupur), a pregnant friend of Ron’s; Tanmoy (Anirban), Bidisha’s husband; Pragya (Pubali), a friend of the Mitra family and Surojit (Tareque), a writer-journalist friend of Pragya visiting from India. The Mitras are getting ready to host a baby shower for Bidisha, when they are unnerved by the sad news of the untimely death of a close friend of Ron’s who was also deployed and was the one who had inspired him to join the army.

In their relationship, Tanmoy is constantly suspicious that Bidisha is having an affair with Ron. He thinks army personnel are losers, and reminds Bidisha that she was able to come to the US only because of him and that she should remain submissive and be forever grateful for that.

Surojit commissioned Pragya to write about Ron, his experiences and the circumstances that led him to take the decision to join the army. Surojit reminded Pragya that she had misunderstood him regarding the events from the past and he still had feelings for her. He comes across as a loud, blunt, no nonsense, in your face character.

The party rapidly goes into a tailspin with each character exposing the secret wars they have been fighting all along. Nanda, who excels every time with his impeccable powerful acting, conveyed the anguish that he underwent when his family was killed during the Bangladesh war. Surojit, an ex-army man was court-martialed for carrying out an order for a wrongful act, also came out dramatically. Pragya’s daughter’s HIV+ diagnosis was food for thought.

The climax was the news of Ron’s death, but his last wish that Bidisha’s bridal shower must go on under any circumstance, was honored. What added to the flavor of the play, was some gut wrenching vocals by Chandrani, during the interludes and Nupur and Pubali during the course of the play.

Playwright Sudipta Bhawmik, through his writing demonstrates his prowess in playing with human emotions and keeping the audience on the edge of their seats. The very powerful and well enacted play was supported by some brilliant acting and volunteers Aayush, Anindita, Rahul, Balaka, Rajat, Swati, Piyal, Sailaja, Priya, Suchetana, Saurabh, Partha, Sujoy, Kausik, Arani and Nahid. Manas Saha as director was par excellence. The play ran to sold out audiences for all three shows.

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