Of Mice and Men

Harsh Shukla

Harus Marus is a musical satire that focuses on justice and fair play.

Harus Marus, a musical satire, is a story of humans and rats. Two mice, Harus and Marus, are the main characters who talk like humans. There are other characters also like Garibprasad, his daughter Lali, Malik, owner of the godown, and Malkin, Malik’s wife. A mob of rats used to steal goods from a godown to feed themselves. Malik is fed up and gives the order to Garibprasad to kill all rats. Garibprasad has to follow the order as he needs money for his daughter’s engagement. Instead of killing them, he brings the mice home. This is the beginning of the relation between the mice and the man, which brings to light how rats are better evolved than people.

Rasika Agashe started her theatre group, Being Association, with her friends in 2013. Her plays include Museum of Species in Danger on women’s issue, and Raat Na Aaye, a Hindi adaption of Eugene O’Neill’s Long Day’s Journey into the Night. The group has performed at prominent theatre festivals across the country in these six years.

Harus Marus was staged recently at Jyotshna Bhole Sabhagruh in Pune as a part of MCC Rang Mahotsav. Agashe’s script that captures the satire in society, had won last year’s Sanhita Manch, the national playwriting competition. This time, she has added more dialogues and songs, using a stylised folk form over realism. Currently, the play has nearly 14 songs and 38 characters.

An alumnus from the National School of Drama, Delhi, Agashe says, “I started my theatre group because as an actress when I was working in television and films, I was telling someone’s story. In theatre, we can tell our own stories. It is essential to express what we feel for particular issues. Our theatre group generally makes plays that are socially relevant.”

Agashe says she manages to maintain a balance between cinema, television, and theatre. She argues that theatre will survive even in times of web platforms, as it is the only live medium to tell stories. Theatre is a medium of education, she says. “We don’t believe in doing arts for the sake of art. We believe that a smaller act can bring a larger change in society. It’s not about revolution but taking on one small issue at a time. Any art form in today’s time needs to speak about issues in their own individual way.”