kalighat1

Fellow Creature

Kolkata, 2009. In a suite in a top class business hotel, young Indian entrepreneur Raj waits impatiently. He and his English business/romantic partner Eric have an important meeting this afternoon, and Eric is not back from a sight-seeing wander through the streets of the city.

When Eric appears, Raj's problems are not solved. Eric saw the Victoria Memorial ("Lazy white dinosaur bones in the sun") and St. Paul's Cathedral ("you have a much better one in London") and, on the way to Kalighat Temple, saw a sight which struck him to the core – a man dying on the side of the road…

ERIC: I am not even sure that it was a man. Could just as well have been a woman. The chest just kind of drooped, an old dirty dishrag. Whatever it was, it was on the roadside squatting. By a small tree. Naked except a bit of old fabric around the waist. It's body was absolutely dripping with moisture. Drenched in the heat. Excreting sweat through the skin. (…) Plenty of people walking up and down the street. None of them took any notice of him. He didn't notice them. He didn't notice me. I noticed him. Perhaps he could sense me. I don't know if there was any connection left between him and the rest of the world. It felt like I was seeing his last moments. (Pause.) And no one cared.

Eric is so appalled by this sight, by what it implies about Indian society and what this in turn implies about their business opportunities in the country ("The wages we pay to the staff will be just a little bit rubbish, won't they? Despite that they'll work hard. Because they don't want to end up on the street like this fellow I've seen") that he announces he cannot "do business in this country of yours."

It looks as though Raj's plans, hopes and dreams are at an end. Has he been wasting his time working with Eric all of these months? Eric offers Raj a job in England and even a civil partnership but Raj is not happy with the proposal…

RAJ: I have five brothers who are all older than me. I will not be inheriting anything. Especially as I will not be getting married. So no wife's dowry. This is not a game for me, Eric. I have actually passed on three excellent opportunities while I've been working along the side of you. But fine. I stand to make lots of money from our partnership. But I don't particularly want to come along to England to be your mail order bride! But if you go, if I stay here, perhaps I have missed my good chance. You want me to end up on the street like this thing. This fellow. This creature you have seen. Is this what you now wish for me? After the plans we have made.

Eric seems adamant that he will leave on the first plane – but perhaps his desire for worldly success, for Raj and for the philosophies of India are stronger than Eric's conscience after all?

Fellow Creature stages contemporary post-colonial relationships as a moral and erotic battle of wills, values and beliefs, a battle zone where seduction is a weapon and self-image could be a strength or a weakness. All the while, the city's deity Kali reigns supreme

RAJ: You must understand this mother! Our dear mad mother. Who gives and takes! Takes and gives!

Fellow Creature is a 20 minute two-hand playlet which was premiered as part of Minaiturists 22 at the Arcola Theatre on 18 October 2009. Alyn Gwyndaf played Eric and Arran Shanti was Raj. Direction was by Joe Austin. It was then performed at part of the Lost Theatre One Act Play Festival on 4 May 2010, again directed by Joe Austin, with Adam Napier (Eric) and John Bosco (Raj).

  2 m.