Mondal's one man ensemble Art
The showcasing of rare, The showcasing of rare, virtuoso skills of a one-man ensemble art incorporating voice throwing abilities to establish an actor's versatile credentials in miscellaneous roles in the sphere of theatre are few and far between in this new millennium.
In the last 19th century, the pioneering efforts of British novelist Charles Dickens culminated in his death on-stage, when he collapsed with a massive heart attack while enacting the dreadful shrieks of Nancy about to be murdered by Bill Sykes in Oliver Twist.
This solo performing art as a genre was much later perpetuated in the 20th Century by none other than British actor-playwright Emlyn Williams, who got under the skin of Dickens projecting the many characters in his classic novels.
'Nearer home', the late stage veteran Ajitesh Bandyopadhyay's brilliant stint as a solo performer in many roles in Chekov's 'Nana Ranger Din' in the 70's of the last century kept the audience spellbound.
In this new millennium, Probir Mondal may be deemed the only exponent of the genre who demonstrated his acting expertise on stage at the Tapan Theatre in South Kolkata on August 27.
His play 'Hiren Chor' penned, directed and dramatised by Mondal, managed to impress a sizable audience with his authentic portrayals of four separate characters and their individual character traits and behavioural temperaments.
Set in the rustic backdrop if Opar Bangla where the wide divide between Hindus and Muslims create communal discord, Hiren, a simple Hindu village bumpkin is dubbed a thief by the local people and ostracised by members of his community.
But another character Haji Saheb, an elderly red-bearded Muslim tries to make some allowances for Hiren to become a member of his community through the process of proselytisation to Islam but fails.
Probir's solo acting acumen changing colours somewhat chameleon-like coupled with the costumes befitting one character to another is nothing short of being brilliant.
Not only his vocal inflections in the East Bengali dialects synchronising with his physical gestures, dramatic pacing, momentum, but body language and mannerisms also brings life to the transition of the four different characters in their desired shades.
Haji Saheb, Hajur, Salma Begum and Hiren Chor appear before the audience, using a falsetto to depict the woman character in his solo play.