Vivek Narayan’s play Walking to the Sun: A Play on Tagore’s Post Office connects Tagore’s play with wartime Poland, where it was performed in translation. Following Narayan’s text, Suman Mukhopadhyay will present a split stage, one area for the Warsaw Ghetto (the representative character is Janusz Korczak, a historical figure) and one for Amal’s home in the Indian village.

Vivek Narayan

Vivek V. Narayan is a writer, performance-maker, and scholar, currently serving as Assistant Professor of English, Theatre, and Performance Studies at Ashoka University. His writing appears or is forthcoming in  Theatre Survey, The Georgia Review, The Oxford Handbook of Modern Indian Literatures, Black Warrior ReviewMuse IndiaModern DramaThe Bombay Review, and elsewhere, while his theatre work has been staged in India, the United Kingdom, and the United States. 

Vivek Narayan on the inspiration for Walking Into The Sun:

“I first heard of Janusz Korczak from the theatre director Sunil Shanbag who was then developing a play on the last days of Korczak during the Holocaust. Korczak, who wrote books for children and ran an orphanage in Warsaw, refused the sanctuary offered by underground supporters because he would not abandon his children. Faced with transfer to the Treblinka extermination camp, Korczak helped the children in his care prepare for death by staging Rabindranath Tagore’s Dak Ghar in the Warsaw Ghetto. This was an astonishing and deeply humane story that reinstated faith in the power of love, courage, and compassion in the face of tyranny. Our discussions eventually led to Sunil asking me to write the play. I got to work on it as a monologue delivered by the protagonist facing death in the concentration camp. We thematically framed scenes from Dak Ghar within Korczak’s monologue. Two important sources for my research were Korczak’s Ghetto Diary, which helped me get a sense of his voice, and King of Children: The Life and Death of Janusz Korczak by Betty Jean Lifton, which helped me grasp the historical background and biographical detail”.