Impressive Clarity in Gopi Sapkota’s ‘Kalo Aakriti’

Khagendra Bhattarai

 The critics often say that writing a play is in the least priority of the writers and there are very few collections of plays available in the bookstalls in comparison to other genres. With the publication of his sixth creation Kalo Akriti, (Black Image), a collection of one-act-plays, Gopi Sapkota has placed himself in the front rank of prominent playwrights of the New Nepal.

Through the collection, Sapkota has experimented with various themes and has introduced some modern concepts and techniques in the Nepali literary world. Although he has used multiple themes and concepts in the plays, his main focus seems to be in existential philosophy. The techniques that he has used in the plays are new to us, which are further boosted by clarity and simplicity in his presentation.

A total of ten one-act-plays are given in the collection. The first play ‘Churot, Kagaj Ra Mainbattiharu’ questions about the existence of the humans. The cigarette in the play stands for a metaphor for men’s cremation. In ‘Kramasha Bisthapan’, characters of a family are displaced by the dogs that they have reared. Rearing dogs signifies the social status of person but the dogs themselves displace a family at the end of the drama.

The title play ‘Kalo Akriti’ deals with the dilemma of modern youths who want to cease their lives. The boys in the beginning desire to end their lives but as they meet the shadow of death, they themselves try to capture and kill death.

In the fourth play, ‘Antardwanda’, the characters rebel against a writer and desire freedom from the cruelty of the creator. The play Khel carries the theme of cyber culture and shows how humans have to be terrified with new digital creation. In Mrityu, characters want to die to get rid of the loneliness and frustration. In ‘Akarshan Bikarshan’, the characters suspect each other and the suspicion of spouses’ relation leads to separation.

In ‘Arko Euta Kheladi’, there is a political conflict and one character replaces another. The last play ‘Chatyang Ra Kehi Jilkaharu’ illustrates a trusted person’s ruthlessness who opines that the beggars should be shot to death to get rid of them.

With this collection, Sapkota has exposed new possibilities. At the same time, the plays offer the readers startling glimpses into unforgettable lives and situations that record Sapkota’s favourite themes with marvellous clarity. In this collection, readers witness the playwright’s ability to mix comic and tragic elements simultaneously. Sapkota’s one-acts are a gift to readers and performers alike. Much can be expected from Sapkota who has been penning plays with clarity in thought and presentation.

(First published in The Rising Nepal, Friday Supplement on 28/09/2007)