Sanyasi2011, directed by Ameneh Bordi and playing at The Kraine Theater, is an adaptation of a work by Bengali poet/dramatist Rabindranath Tagore about a guru who rejects the material world and becomes an ascetic. With its simple narrative and abrupt ending, the 45-minute play (featuring a soothing electronic music score by Keith Adams) is more like an appetizer than a full meal. Nonetheless, the production offers an elegant illustration of the eternal spiritual question: To detach, or not to detach?
At the beginning of the play, the Sanyasi proclaims that people's concerns are trivial and that time is a prison; he removes himself from the din of everyday life so that he can be free and seek truth. As played by Evan Sanderson, the Sanyasi is full of the certainty of youth, confidently explaining his philosophy and offering his knowledge to those who seek it. There is wisdom in his words, but avoiding entanglement is easier said than done.
When a young girl (Monica Flanagan), a social outcast, comes to rely on the Sanyasi for companionship, he feels stifled and abandons her. Troubled by the incident, he starts to question his own beliefs and eventually comes to see the beauty of the world. However, he quickly realizes that the cost of attachment is the pain of loss.
The Sanyasi's struggle to maintain the integrity of his spiritual vision versus his desire to help someone in need is moving. And in the end, the play seems to say that detachment brings clarity to the mind, but attachment animates the heart.
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