Tuesday, May 17, 2005


Caught the play Oleanna this weekend. A brief synopsis of the play as stated in the leaflet given to us as we stepped in-

"Oleanna is a story of the correctness and incorrectness of sexual and power politics; of gender war and intellectual vandalism in college campus; of academic power-play between a pedantic professor who wants to change the way of the educational system and a girl from 'the deprived class' who demands equal opportunity to education. When the girl-Carol- flunks her lessons and goes to the professor-John- for what appears to be a routine clarification session, the roller-coaster exorcism of the professor begins."

The play threw up some interesting ideas as we sat watching it. One of them was related to the main character of the play called John who is a professor and who wants to change the way education is imparted. He deals with a multitude of internal conflicts in trying to deal with his student Carol who has flunked her lessons and has come to him for help. John says in one of his many musings that

"Education is prolonged and systematic hazing"

It was his way of saying that such a system in which a person is not tested for what he knows but rather what he does not know is a farce. Listening to him Carol seems to get extremely distressed as she has, in her journey to graduate school, faced innumerable challenges and prejudices and here atlast when she had 'arrived', so to say, there was this professor who seemed to rubbish the entire concept and methodology of education. She lets out her anguish and frustration with a strong and forceful intensity.

This got me thinking that in my college days too, there were some of us who blamed the "system" and the fact that this methodology is all wrong and purposeless while there were others who had struggled to get to an engineering school and valued what they had and worked hard at it.However what I felt puzzled about was the fact that I who had complained about the whole "system" and its "machinations" was among the first to land a job when employers came on campus and the people who had valued the "system" and worked hard at it, found the going very difficult. It seemed to manifest the unfairness of the whole situation. I guess in the end, its just how things are and will remain.


Blogger Kanishkaa said...

Well written again.I blamed the system too right through school as well as college(that would explain why I'm working now).Even of late,we've seen even prestigious MBA courses in India getting a bashing,stating that it's all hype and less of substance.But does the perfect system exist anywhere?Maybe not.

The script does get a little too intellectual for comfort.Carol's character is such that she loses her temper way too often,making the audience dislike her and side with the professor.Perhaps the playwrite should've built up the tension during the course of the play rather than bringing it on immediatly.This is my personal opinion,though others may differ.It is indeed ironic for a professor to say something like,"Where does it say that I have to send my daughter to the public school?"No wonder Carol's head was about to burst.

1:42 AM  

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