Prosperous Farm, Happy Animals: The Story of ‘Farm-Like’ Animal Farm on Nepali Politics on the Theater

People are preparing to become animals. An angry pig’s face is seen on someone’s smiling face. An optimistic expression appears on someone’s face, but a depressed horse figure on the head.

The play ‘Animal Farm’ is being prepared to be staged at Kausi Theater. From the director to the actor, they are in the process of preparing the play. They have the enthusiasm to make the stage move because of the epidemic. Also, the fear that something will go wrong somewhere.

So some are repeating their dialogues while others are measuring their clothes according to their character.

“We are showing a story written decades ago in a foreign environment. The question is whether Jamar will succeed in making it relevant to our environment, ”said artist Ingihopo Koinch Sunuwar. And after mixing in the queue of other artists, they went backwards.

As he went on, he said, “We are looking for a place that can be improved by rehearsing as many times as possible.”

Shortly thereafter, the stage lights up and darkness falls on the audience.

– Characters returned with time
“You will never know me. Because even George Orwell, the author of this story, doesn’t know me. For him, I am just a weak representative character ”: Mala, a character who has become a mare, breaking the established commentary in the famous story of a successful writer.

She left the place after the farm in which she was living was in disarray. Like he has no mind, no ground and no idea.

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The pig that leads the farm in response says: Do you really think I think all this about you? I really don’t care about you.

In Orwell’s story, the character who has become a weak horse of the bourgeoisie is strongly presented in the Nepali drama version.

In response to the pig, she says: There are men like you in power even in the animal world. Has the patriarchy ever thought of women?

She goes so far as to rise above the stereotypes shown by the narrator.

Animal Farm is a satirical story written against an authoritarian ruler. In the Nepali drama version of the story, director and imaginator Akanksha Karki has given place to feminism. She feels the need to do what she did in the real story.

Photo source, KATHAGHERA
“Presenting the story as it was a long time ago leaves much to be desired. That is why I have added something to the story without letting it die, “Karki told the BBC.” Feminism is a topic of debate today. Therefore, I presented the horse, which was presented as a fool and helpless, capable of making decisions and as a revolutionary. ”

In the real story, the two important leaders are both men. One of the two characters in the play is a woman. Similarly, the only sheep characters who questioned the status quo were men in the story, women in the play. But both seem to fall into the abyss of gender discrimination.

The female leader conspires with the male leader and is expelled from the farm. By making false accusations against him, the male leader presents his plan as he sees fit.

The sheep who disagree with the unnatural actions of the leaders and question the sophistry are suppressed every time. Leaders speak loudly, their voices become muffled, not heard.

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Director Karki says that these scenes are similar to the current picture of Nepali politics. Currently, the leadership selection process of the major political parties of the country is moving forward. This time, the question of women’s participation is being raised from the committee to the office bearers at every level of the party.

While some leaders are claiming for the post, there have been reports in the media that male leaders within the party have not responded positively. All of this can be a coincidence.

“The reality is as shown in the play – the voices of the women who ask questions are suppressed. Women seeking to do so are considered a threat to patriarchy. I have put a woman in the role because I think my experience is similar to that of a sheep and a lead pig, “says director Karki.” If the play had been directed by a man, it would not have happened. ”

From the beginning of the play, the characters talk about revolution. The fact that that revolution is not limited to dialogue is confirmed by the steps taken by Mala Ghodi at least amidst many tragedies.

Animal Farm and Nepali Environment
Animal Farm is a novel written in 1945 by British author George Orwell. This political satire tells the story of the struggle against autocracy and for freedom fought by the rulers.

A pig warns all animals on the farm against Sahu’s unjust behavior. They agitate for the removal of humans from farms and for animal rule. Succeed. Then all the animals come together to establish a free and prosperous farm.

But there is a rift between those who are freed from human rule. That foot is confirmed by a dialogue: ‘All animals are the same, but some animals are more similar than others.’

There are more similar pigs than others. They become rulers by using the weak memory of other animals as weapons. The benefits are in their pockets. The work is done by other animals who do not know anything about their purpose and dream.

The fruits of their labor are hidden by shouting slogans of justice and freedom. To believe in everything that the leader pig has to do with blind devotion The horse devotee is taken to the abattoir as a hospital. No questions asked. Instead, they are assured of a ‘prosperous farm, happy animals’.

Director Karki says that she understood the seriousness of this play only after many years.

Photo source, KATHAGHERA
“Every scene and dialogue in the story made me feel alive. In our country, in society, in the family and in the subcontinent, there are many who are oppressed, ”she said. It was necessary to convey the message of Orwell’s story through drama. ”

She believes that the play will make the audience aware of her behavior.

She explains how the mania for power and the privileges she has can corrupt people. “This story sounds like a prediction of Nepal’s social and political environment,” Karki said.

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She saw the character of the story in the people she saw, knew and met. She rewrote the story to make it more relevant. She added that the spread of leprosy on the farm was like the death of an animal, adding that it was a picture of an epidemic among the common people.

The director has also included the sentences and phrases spoken by Nepali leaders in public circles in the play. “By doing so, the audience remembers the addresses and assurances given to us by our leaders and realizes that this is the story of our environment,” she said.

Actor Sebita Adhikari understands that the drama focuses on how the closed-door meetings, consensus and decisions are affecting the lives of ordinary people.

“There are many incidents where people have to keep quiet because of sacrifice, hard work and faith investment. In return, there was nothing but assurance and lies. While acting, I remember those incidents, ”says the officer.

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‘Crowd Sourcing’ in Nepali Drama
The Kausi Theater Group had tried to stage the play Animal Farm in 2019. But the coronavirus epidemic forced the lock on the theater. Akanksha Karki, who is also the director of the theater, says that the investment made in the preparation of the play at that time was like throwing water in the sand.

When she returned to the stage, she said that there was a lack of capital in the theater. The director had the option of spending money out of her own pocket, but she urged the audience to invest financially.

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“It simply came to our notice then. But in developed countries, the concept of crowd sourcing is very popular in the field of art. It builds trust between the audience and the theater and makes the audience feel a sense of belonging to art, ”she said.

He claims that the government has cooperated with the people as it is not ready to report the shortage caused by the crisis.

Photo source, KATHAGHERA
There were those who helped by accepting the request made through social media. A total of Rs. 240,000 was collected.

“We are confident in what we will do. So we calmly called for help. We were transparent about the amount collected. Being transparent gives you a place to believe, ”she said.

The names ranging from Rs 50 to Rs 100,000 invested in the play will be included in the list of producers.

It has become a common dream of all of them to dream about the impact of the drama, which inspires them to speak out against oppression. It paves the way for breaking down problematic established commentaries.

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