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Lapdiang Syiem’s power-packed drama needs a larger audience

Shillong: Lapdiang Syiem’s soul-stirring performance, A being – human; being human human-beings, was staged at Kiddies Corner Higher Secondary School on Thursday. Lapdiang held the audience spellbound by the range of emotions she conveyed so effortlessly.
This powerful drama choreographed by Lapdiang and her team comprising Juban Lamar, Apkyrmen Skhem Tansong, Keshav Pariat with superb sound and lighting effects stunned the audience to silence, long after it was over and the claps slowly filled the auditorium.
Such is the power of drama when portrayed by an expert with a passion for the art.
Lapdiang acted out the human condition of fear, anger, the horror of childbirth amidst the trauma of being blown off by land mines; the sacro-sanctity of political borders that drives a wedge between human beings.
And to add to the complexity of human life today is Artificial Intelligence which has give life to a robot – Sophia, now granted citizenship by Saudi Arabia.
Sophia, the first human robot programmed to emote like a human being, now wants to have a child without a clue about the biological process that humans have to go through.
Lapdiang says her drama is a satire on what it means to be human today.
Said a transfixed member of the audience, “The transformation of the protagonist’s character from a pregnant woman giving birth in a desperate situation, to later soliciting sex for money just so she could satiate her griping hunger and then her transformation into a wolf with the characteristics of a merciless predator to symbolise the transformation of the powerful ruling class from humans to predators was simply awe-inspiring. More power to Lapdiang and her team.”
Lapdiang’s forte is her assorted expressions which transport the audience into her troubled world — a reality that we tend to shy away from.
This drama points to the multiple realities that humans are living in today even while they are caught up in a web of information generated through social media.
“Our visceral perspectives are challenged because we now function on a switch-on and switch-off mode of emotions. Let’s just swipe to the left or to the right and voila! The world is at our fingertips. But then, what about those? The ones we read about and watch? What about them…? “
This is the sum and substance of the 40-minute theatre but the message it sends is so overpoweringly poignant that only a creative artiste like Lapdiang can communicate through the power of her acting.
Lapdiang Artimai Syiem is a graduate of the National School of Drama, New Delhi and the Commedia School, Copenhagen, Denmark. Her first public performance in Shillong was centred on the legend of ‘Ka Likai’ a woman who died of suicide because she partook of the meat made out her own child’s dead body.
The child was killed by the stepfather while Likai went out to work in the iron smelting fields in Sohra. He later cut the child into pieces and cooked the body which he served to Likai.
Accompanying Lapdiang on the Khasi traditional musical instrument is Apkyrmen Skhem Tangsong, a self-taught musician currently studying music at St. Anthony’s College, Shillong.
The play will be repeated on Friday at Kiddies Corner Higher Secondary School.

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