Pah-La review – fascinating Tibetan drama sets theatre ablaze

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Royal Court, London
Abhishek Majumdar’s play launches a philosophical inquiry into non-violence and defying oppression

A special virtue attaches to playwrights who take us into unfamiliar territory. In his last play at this address, The Djinns of Eidgah, Abhishek Majumdar explored the human cost of the Kashmir conflict. The setting for his new one is Tibet and, while it would be easy to pick holes in his technique, he offers a philosophical inquiry into the nature of non-violence and the tactics required to counter oppression.

The title means “father” in Tibetan and the play starts by showing how a strong-willed young woman, Deshar, has disowned her dad to become a Buddhist nun in a remote part of eastern Tibet. When a Chinese military commander, Deng, arrives to launch a programme of political “re-education” and threatens to destroy the nunnery and build a hospital, we see how defiance of authority can take many forms.

Related: Abhishek Majumdar: the playwright fighting death threats with ice cream

At the Royal Court, London, until 27 April.

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Link : Pah-La review – fascinating Tibetan drama sets theatre ablaze

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