Toye a Sanskrit word for water is a devised piece that examines the actors’ body in performance. Girish Karnad’s Agni aur Varsha is the starting point of this exploration. Agni aur Varsha, inspired by a tale from the Mahabharata, is a saga of ambition, revenge and the politics of power and caste, set in the back drop of a seven year drought and seven yearlong sacrificial fires, aimed at pleasing the Gods to end the drought.
The play begins with a family feud, where in Yavakri consumed with love for Vishakha, his childhood sweetheart and wife of his arch rival, sets out to destroy her entire family. His ambition and thirst for power is met with equal force and violence by Pravasu, Vishakha’s husband and his uncle.
As these opposing worlds collide, they bring forth a diabolic energy that engulfs everything in its path. At the end, it is the sacrifice of two innocent lovers Arvasu and Nittlai that restores order, convincing the gods to send rain.
While the performance text and the narrative outline of Toye is guided by Agni aur Varsha, the piece attempts to find a performance language invested in the body of the actor, focusing on his physical and vocal relationship with the text and the world created in Agni aur Varsha.