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The Professor who lost his mind
(And a historical note about a missing musical).
This was the second musical that I wrote and produced in Pune, and was performed for five nights in Meera Barn in 1992. Aneesha and I took the lead roles, as Professor Nathan Megabrain and his wife, Miranda, who are portrayed as two respectable professors at some unnamed university. Prasadam did the directing and most, if not all, of the music was created by Satyam. As with the previous musical, I wrote the lyrics first, and the tunes were added later. The theme reflected my fascination at that time with the concept of “Inner Man” and “Inner Woman”, based on the understanding in Jungian psychology that we, as human beings, possess both a masculine side and a feminine side. As men, we tend to suppress the feminine while emphasizing the masculine. As women, we do the reverse, suppress the masculine while emphasizing the feminine. The story begins with Professor Megabrain asleep in bed, with his wife. He is having a vivid dream that repeats every night: a beautiful woman is pleading urgently for his help. He cries out to her, and this wakes up his wife, who angrily accuses him of being unfaithful. This, in turn, wakes up his two children, Jason and Tania, who, being super intelligent kids, listen to their father’s problem and persuade him to undergo hypnosis by Uncle Gizmo, an illusionist, who performs at a local night club called The Cosmos. To say it briefly, Uncle Gizmo hypnotizes the whole family and sends them inside the professor’s own mind. There, they encounter “The Boss”, who is none other than the professor’s megalomaniac male ego, who is trying to prevent him from connecting with his inner woman, Louisa, who has been crying out to him for help, because the Boss is persecuting her. An American sannyasin, Veeten, gave a superb, over-the-top performance as The Boss, who controls the professor’s mind through a gang of 1920s style male hoodlums. James Cagney would have fitted right in. Of course, in the end, the professor succeeds in meeting his inner woman, and the Boss is defeated, transforming himself into a useful servant, rather than a dictator. This musical offered an enjoyable tour through the various dimensions of the mind, such as the chain of associative thinking, shadow elements from childhood traumas, the lizard part of the brain, madness, and the state of meditation known as “No Mind”. HISTORICAL NOTE: THE MISSING MUSICAL The next musical, the one that followed the professor, has been lost, including the script. It was performed one or two years after the professor, and was called Amrapali and the Wheel of Dharma. The basic story line was pretty bizarre, but then so were all of my shows. This one focuses on a gifted female psychic from California who becomes involved with a secret sect of Tibetan Buddhism, located in a hidden temple in the Himalayas. The sect believes that whoever controls the next turning of the Wheel of Dharma will create the religious vision for the next 2,500 years, and the head of the sect, naturally, wants to be the new messiah. However, at this point, the young Californian psychic leads everyone to the Temples of Khajuraho, in Central India, where Amrapali, a beautiful courtesan from the days of Gautam Buddha, is about to emerge from 2,5000 years of sleep, intending to help humanity by turning the Wheel of Dharma herself. A conflict ensues, and somehow the boyfriend of the female psychic ends up turning the wheel by mistake, thereby preventing anyone else from doing so. All the characters end up in Pune, where they celebrate a new religious vision based on individual freedom and meditation.
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