Sameness – not just boring… 
- Aniruddh Vasudevan, Chennai 
Photos: Lalitha Venkat 

December 5, 2004

Mr. C, the first cloned human being, arrives hesitantly to deliver a lecture under the aegis of the “International Global Cloning Authority.” What starts out as a science lecture on the types of cloning, gets steered into an intimate monologue, to eager listeners, on his personal life. There were bursts of laughter from sections of the audience now and then. But one felt there was a tinge of uneasiness about them. They did not arise out of any inherent comicality in C’s lecture but out of a sense of slight discomfort with the entire situation.  

What Gil Alon was repeatedly hitting at, in this solo theatre presentation, was not so much the physical sameness that the scientific act of cloning produces as much as at the psychological and spiritual conditioning and homogenizing that happen, even in our times, in institutionalised ways with all our consent. The crack in the glass laboratory canopy that had so terrorised Mr. C and others of his community is probably symbolic of those painful ruptures that occur in our mass-produced mindscapes and awaken us to the fact that something is going wrong, that “it is not okay that everything is the same.”  

Yes. Those were clear comical moments when Mr. C distributed biscuits among the audience and showed everyone the photographs of his family and friends. But here again he inadvertently demonstrated the impossibility of rigid, codified and homogenised collective thinking or activity sustaining itself for long. The sensing of a possible rupture in such a neatly packed and confident system becomes inevitable. What Gil Alon later called “endless constant investigation,” be it artistic, spiritual or scientific, becomes the need - to save everyone from some painfully catastrophic awakening.  

Gil commanded the sharpened attention of every member of the audience throughout the “lecture.” It was interesting to see that Mr.C, who came from the land of sameness and had acquired the aura of being “different” within seconds after his entry, soon became, somehow, “not-so-different”!  

Aniruddh Vasudevan is a Bharatanatyam dancer based in Chennai.