‘The Prophet’ – What it is, What it is not
Srikanth narrated the story of ‘The Prophet’ to the Sai Shree Arts team over our (now) traditional post-performance dinner. This was at Bangalore, right after the YUDH performance in March of 2013. The sumptuous fare had to go cold; Srikanth’s story had a sizzling intensity that made us forget everything else. No, it is not based on or inspired by Kahlil Gibran’s book, ‘The Prophet’.
Srikanth’s story, in the style of ‘Rebecca’ portrayed the life of the protagonist without her ever appearing in the story. Much later my stage-play had to create a reciprocal world where the protagonist, the Prophet never left the stage. It became one person’s narrative of her life from her childhood to her last days. While ‘the Prophet’ carried many a trade mark of Srikanth’s writing style, the key difference this time was that at least on surface the entire story has a definite beginning and an end. Yes, tear a little under the surface and then come the layers.
‘The Prophet’ is a fictional biography. It is not a philosophical examination of concepts larger than the self. Actually, it is a case study of the self. The words we used in the promotional video – “Who am I?” seem to suggest an inquiry into the purpose of life beyond living. This statement comes from the person, the protagonist, the Prophet herself. It is a beautiful story about a woman, who the world hailed as a Prophet.
‘The Prophet’ will raise questions in the minds of people. “Who am I?” is not likely to be one of them. In a world where everybody has been created equal by God, what is the role of exalted souls? This is probably closer to the core of the story and its performance. History has it that doubt creates a destiny, which dissolves onto divinity. When divinity destines itself to doubt, the experience is shattering. That you could say is the essence of ‘The Prophet’.
Srikanth’s dream of writing a breezy romantic comedy will have to wait another time! It is these stories that we love him for.