Staging a revolution


It’s said theatre is one of the strongest mediums to evoke change. It was this thought that pushed the Wings Cultural Scociety — a theatre group comprising of students and ex-students of Jawaharlal Nehru University — to do the play, The Wave, based on an experimental theory.
Tarique Hameed, who is directing the play, says, “It’s based on an experiment that was carried out by a History teacher, Ron Jones, in California in the 60s.”
Rones, according to Tarique, was perturbed by a student’s question about the Nazi-German fight and Hitler’s approach. The student was curious to know how 10 percent Nazis could kill Germans who were almost 10 times more than them. It was this question that gave rise to an experiment conducted by the professor where he played Hitler and his class became the followers. The professor worked on the theory of how even a complicated idea can be made convincing by just floating it around the masses.
“It was the idea of overpowering the masses by any means and then making them follow the rules. Soon the professor too started enjoying his position of being a ruler and the idea entered his home and his personal space,” says Tarique, who thought of doing the play because of its relevance in present times.
“You just need to overpower the masses and they will start following whatever you teach them. The best example can be the power of media. One idea is projected and everybody starts thinking along the lines. There are very few who have their own opinion,” he says, bringing to fore the Anna Hazare movement where people swarmed to the venue without exactly being aware about the cause. “Hazare’s movement wasn’t wrong. But did the people who went there know the reason behind the movement? It’s very difficult to say,” he remarks.
Rakesh Kaushik, a former student of German at JNU and a filmmaker, who translated the play from German to Hindi in 2002, says that the idea is very relevant in the Indian context. “I translated it at the time when the entire Godhra issue was at its peak. From then to now, nothing has changed. We still have issues like communal harmony bothering us. The play can be an eye-opener for the younger generation,” he says.
And since the team believes in it, after it opens at the Shri Ram Centre in August, they are planning to take it to all the colleges in Delhi. “We have already finalised the dates for performing in Kamla Nehru College and Gargi College, others we are yet to decide,” says Tarique.

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