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Playwright Zubin Driver is known for depicting current issues and examining them in numerous ways through his productions. While Mumbai vs Mumbai, set in the metropolis, explored the ideas of freedom, identity and faith, Striptease — the gender dialogues and Devi (its recently-launched Hindi version), comprised four monologues, which were written in the wake of sexual crimes against women. Now, in his new production Worm Play — A Black Comedy, Zubin looks at the socio-political environment in a lighter vein but aims to prompt theatre lovers to ask themselves some pertinent questions.

Featuring Raghav Srivastava and Prachi Chaube, the story revolves around two worms (a master and a slave) who are stuck in the stomach of a giant worm. They plot and plan, squabble and sabotage each other continuously in a bid to free themselves.

Zubin, who has written as well as directed this play, first started penning it in the early ’90s. He says, “The idea was a response to the ongoing socio-political-economic ecosystem that we exist in where one sees a continuous movement towards totalitarian capitalism. It’s a global phenomena. More and more people are getting isolated, living in their own world and these two characters are enacting fantasies of power.”

He adds that the piece is a metaphorical representation of what is occurring in multiple countries. “It operates on two levels — the larger geo-political system that is happening around and the inter-personal politics between any two human beings. At a human level, when you put people in a group, some kind of politics and a power structure emerge. The same narratives then continue on a larger geo-political level,” he elaborates.

Over the years, Zubin kept reworking the script and drew references from various incidents. He explains, “The piece depicts a sense of continuous chaos. Though there has been development, many small wars are taking place, too. Superpowers intervene in smaller countries on the guise of freeing them, but actually want to appropriate resources. It’s a new kind of colonialism.”

The writer-director has deliberately adopted a humorous tone rather than being pedantic, so that the point comes across easily yet makes an impact. “The premise is absurd and funny. I chose worms as the main characters because they are ignored by everybody, but are significant in the larger scheme of things since they are used in composting. In my story, they represent the common man and what has become of us. We have no say in how things function but have been caught in the rigmarole of life,” he says.

Prachi and Raghav, who play key roles, underwent a self-enquiry theatre course, which included a lot of introspection, self audit and improvisations, following which they started rehearsing. Prachi says, “We did research on different types of comedy in order to get a better understanding of the genre. Zubin, Raghav and I discussed a lot about current affairs and exchanged different points of view.” Raghav states, “We had to get our comic timing right as it’s a black comedy.”