On the 12th of February, the latest edition of the Book Club had Mr. Prashant Sinha presenting “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” by Edward Albee.
This was the one talk in an on-going series of events that seeks to present and analyse literature. The talk was hosted by Dr. Prashant Sinha, a former professor and Head of Department of English, University of Pune. He has 7 books and over 30 articles to his credit.
Written by Edward Albee, “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” is a play that analyzes and displays the complex relationship between a married couple, Martha and George.
The play was later adapted for the screen, and a film was released in 1966 starring Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor.
The intricacies of the relationship between the two lead characters is explored through the themes of intimacy, sexual relations, companionship and progeny. The two characters seem to almost be at war with each other throughout the play, and the marriage they have built stands on a foundation of sand, which they quickly disillusion themselves from at the end of the play.
Dr. Sinha, after a brief overview of the play, delved into an analysis of the characters themselves. He touched upon their failings, their strengths, their insecurities and their coping mechanisms, while running us through how these manifested into actions in the play.
The talk was then followed by a performance by the students of the St. Mira’s College for Girls, called ‘Log Kya Kahenge?”, a production that seeks to raise awareness about mental health and to break the stigma that surrounds it.
Directed by Hartmann D’Souza, the performance touched upon the various aspects of mental health, different disorders and the perceptions of society regarding this subject.
The students all put up a stellar show, with evocative acting aided by brilliant sound and light direction.
A representative of the Pune-based foundation Connecting, also came to Gyaan Adab and spoke briefly about their role in promoting awareness about mental health by offering crisis management for suicidal tendencies.
All in all, the evening of the 12th was insightful and penetrating, having promoted a if nothing else but temporary sensitivity to mental health and those who struggle with it.