Numerous poems, drama, and stories have been written on the National Socialist era when times were tumultuous and full of fear. One such drama—Storm Still— was written by Austrian writer Peter Handke and published in the year 2010. It was translated into English by Martin Chalmers and published by Seagull Books in 2013.
The drama is composed mainly in the form of a monologue which the narrator, who refers himself to, as ‘I’ has with his late mother. He revisits scenes from his childhood from the South Austrian province of Carinthia. In fact, critics have often drawn resemblance between the narrator and the writer himself; as few distinct characteristics of the writer can be well reflected through the dialogues spoken by the narrator. Throughout the conversations, many characters are revealed which have uncanny similarities with Handke’s own family. Thus making the readers wonder if this is a quasi –fictionalized version of his own story.
A musical adaptation of Peter Handke’s Storm Still was recently performed by Varun Kishore and Tanaji Dasgupta at the Victoria Memorial Hall, which after two years of waiting, I was lucky to attend. It was brought to us by Victoria Memorial Hall and The Seagull Foundation for the Arts. A trailer of the show is attached above and the copyright goes to Mr. Varun Kishore.
Storm Still was a complete two-man army. One cannot praise Tanaji enough for remembering all the dialogues and performing them with the necessary pitch, voice modulation and expression all throughout the almost 70- minutes long performance. His graceful oratory was complimented by Varun’s music. The highs and lows of the scenes were brilliantly captured with the background music; which he self-composed and played the pre-recorded and live versions during the performance. I have often seen people discussing whether the oratory is better or the music; but for Storm Still both win. It’s almost as if the music blended with the oration so that both ran in tandem with each other. One would be incomplete without the other.
Storm Still has been previously performed in many places in Kolkata and outside. In case you have missed those performances and want to catch the next, or simply wanted to attend it for a second/third time, then you can keep a lookout for the dates on Facebook. For those in Kolkata it is being performed at the Padatik Theatre on March 30 and 31, 2017. So hurry and fix your dates!