TGSM – The Musical

A Rachel Czuba Theatricals Production

Full Length Musical. Family Drama, Forbidden Love Story, Political Drama

The God of Small Things: The Musical

Music by:Rachel Czuba
Lyrics by:Arundhati Roy
Stage Adaptation by:Rachel Czuba
Based on the Original Novel by:Arundhati Roy

Inside the Playbill


The God of Small Things is a modern musical adaptation of the haunting work of art produced by Arundhati Roy. The story takes place in multiple time zones, interpreted through lighting cues and age changes of the characters by switching them out with younger actors. This musical centers around the generational and familial trauma of the past, and how politics affects the world around us.

  • Setting: Ayemenem (1969 + 1993)
  • Dancing: Light (no dancing experience necessary)
  • Genre of Music: Jazz with hints of Bollywood
  • Cast Size: Small (10 people at most as ensemble)
  • Casting Notes: Adult and child versions of Estha and Rahel
  • Ideal For: College or adult productions, may need a modified version for High School production


The Play: 

  • “Before [Velutha] emerged through the trees and stepped into the driveway, Rahel saw him and slipped out of the Play and went to him. Ammu saw her go. Offstage, she watched them perform their elaborate Official Greeting” (166). 
  • ‘“Must we behave like some damn godforsaken tribe that’s just been discovered?” Ammu asked. “Oh dear,” Margaret Kochamma said. In the angry quietness of the Play (the Blue Army in the greenheat still watching), Ammu walked back to the Plymouth, took out her suitcase, slammed the door, and walked away to her room, her shoulders shining. Leaving everybody to wonder where she had learned her effrontery from” (171).

The Play is how Rahel sees the interaction between her family and the white newcomers. They’re acting a certain way to impress them, and both Rahel and Ammu recognize and express their frustration with this.


The exoticization of Ammu and the twins’ family when interacting with Margaret Kochamma and Sophie Mol (two white people), represents Orientalism. “Orient” means East, from where the sun rises, in relation to the Western perspective. This shows the power dynamic and the “ideal Other”; EUROPE / orient (POWERFUL / powerless). 

  • “They were a family of Anglophiles. Pointed in the wrong direction, trapped outside their own history and unable to retrace their steps because their footprints had been swept away” (51). 

Anglophiles are lovers of British culture, and, in this case, Estha and Rahel’s family despise themselves because of this. Chacko and Ammu’s father, Pappachi, had a blind devotion to the English. Edward Said defines Orientalism as “a Western style for dominating, restructuring, and having authority over the Orient.” Connecting these two instances; the Play and the family’s title of being Anglophiles, Orientalism presents itself as the Westerner’s encouragement of the Easterners to judge themselves in terms of Western criteria. 


Main Characters
Estha – Estha is Rahel’s older twin brother by 18 minutes. He’s a serious, intelligent, and nervous kid who wears “beige and pointy shoes” and has an “Elvis puff”. 
– Requirements of Character: Must be a Bass, with acting experience
– Young Estha: Alto with acting experience

Rahel – Rahel is Estha’s younger twin sister by 18 minutes. She’s impulsive and wild, intelligent and straightforward, and is treated less than her brother. 
– Requirements of Character: Must be a Mezzo – Soprano, with acting experience
– Young Rahel: Soprano with acting experience

Ammu – Ammu is Rahel and Estha’s mother. She is strict and her twins feel as though they might lose her love, or are unworthy of it.
– Requirements of Character: Must be an Alto, with acting experience

Velutha – Velutha is an untouchable, who’s smart and a carpenter at the pickle factory. He’s a mentor for the twins and has an affair with their mother. 
– Requirements of Character: Must be a Bass, with acting experience

Chacko – Chacko is Estha’s and Rahel’s uncle. He has a child, Sophie Mol, with his ex wife, Margaret Kochama.
– Requirements of Character: No singing, must have acting experience

Baby Kochamma – Baby Kochamma is the twins’ maternal great aunt. She condemns the twins, Ammu and Velutha’s love, and herself, causing not only misery for herself but also misery for everyone else. She is one of the antagonists of the story.
– Requirements of Character: No singing, must have acting experience

Supporting Characters
Sophie Mol – Chacko and Margaret Kochama’s daughter, Estha and Rahel’s younger, white cousin. Her arrival leads to the downfall and tragic events that occur throughout the novel.

Pappachi – Chacko and Ammu’s father, an entomologist, who abused his wife and daughter. His “moth” is what controls Rahel’s obsession of achieving Ammu’s love. He is one of the antagonists of the story.

Mammachi – Pappachi’s wife and Chacko and Ammu’s mother. She owns the pickle factory and is blind.

Featured Character (ensemble)
10 people who will play the protesters, the ex-spouses, the Orangedrink Lemondrink man, etc.

Act One (songs)

  1. Paradise Pickles and Preserves
  2. Pappachi’s Moth
  3. Big Man the Laltain, Small Man the Mombatti
  4. Abhilash Talkies
  5. God’s Own Country
  6. Cochin kangaroos
  7. Wisdom Exercise Notebooks
  8. Welcome Home, Our Sophie Mol
  9. Mrs. Pillai, Mrs. Eapen, Mrs. Rajagopalan
  10. The River in the Boat
  11. The God of Small Things


Act Two (songs)

  1. Kochu Thomban
  2. The Pessimist and the Optimist
  3. Work is Struggle
  4. The Crossing
  5. A Few Hours Later
  6. Cochin Harbor Terminus
  7. The History House
  8. Saving Ammu
  9. The Madras Mail
  10. The Cost of Living

“It was a time when the unthinkable became the thinkable and the impossible really happened.”

The God of Small Things

Why Goneril is a Baddie

Baddie: A girl who is super attractive. She slays whether she’s wearing a tight dress or sweatpants. (Urban Dictionary).

“Baddie” is a commonly used term by Gen Z, misconstrued to be utilized as a misogynist word, weaponized by the male species.

“I ain’t ever been with a baddie (with a baddie)
She calm, so I add her to the tally
Madison, but I’m calling her Maddie (yeah)
Like, Mads, try send me the addy”

Own Brand Freestyle by FelixThe1st

Many people perceive this word as a positive label for women, but it objectifies them and only gives credit to their body. Taking back the term and using the factual definition; Baddie: a villain or criminal in a story, movie, etc. (Oxford Languages), we can redefine it as a word of empowerment, such as the way that Goneril presented herself.

Goneril can be described as a jealous, treacherous, and immoral authority figure, deceiving her own father and sisters. Using the Oxford Languages’ definition, Goneril is a technical Baddie, she plays one of the main villains in a male dominant work of literature. Most villains have qualities of independence, and Goneril is the epitome of an independent woman. She defies the control from her husband, Albany, and becomes the “pants” in the relationship, only proving her power and strength in the play.

Why is this a crucial element of the play? Goneril reversed the female stereotypes that Shakespeare aggressively utilizes in all of his writings. Instead of portraying Cordelia’s sense of innocence, Goneril pursues a different approach, creating the atmosphere of a powerful female lead. Her role isn’t mean to be favored, it’s meant to show the importance of a woman playing a villain, and how she’s not much different from a male villain. To compare Goneril’s character to another popular villain in Shakespeare’s King Lear, Edmund, they both practice the skill of deception towards their designated fathers. Edmund manipulates Gloucester by turning him against his brother Edgar, while Goneril deceives her father by illustrating herself as a loving daughter. In the end, the deceptions don’t matter when they both die, but it leaves a strong impact on the audience.

One of the main themes that stem from King Lear is the unreliability of words. Lear is lied to by his own daughters, misinterpreting deception with flattery. Goneril says to him in the beginning of the play,

“As much as child e’er loved, or father found,
A love that makes breath poor and speech unable,
Beyond all manner of so much I love you.”

As she is speaking, she’s saying that her love for her father makes “speech unable,” the irony of her expression of love towards him. While this phrase is not only ironic, it’s also a lie, but Lear believes it. The theme can also be related to the term “Baddie,” because one cannot rely on the Urban Dictionary definition, or the commonly used meaning behind it.

Everybody Wants to Rule the World

Tears for Fears’ “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” (Songs from the Big Chair) is a multi-dimensional song, expressing the power-hungry motives of us as a society, the abuse of authority in the US government, and even our own personal ambition. Many people have debated the intent and meaning behind the lyrics, coming to the conclusion that there is a political message being expressed. The title is the message; every person, whether specifically striving for this goal or not, wants power and/or authority.

“Turn your back on Mother Nature”

The human species has developed a society that destroys the earth through large corporations and their participation in pollution, the mass consumption of animal products that increase green gases, and our overall involvement in destroying “Mother Nature”. The personification of Mother Nature and the action of us as a society backstabbing “her” emphasizes humans’ hunger for power, to the extent where we’re willing to wreck the earth.

“All for freedom and for pleasure

Nothing ever lasts forever”

As a society we strive for the most, even if it isn’t stable enough to last forever. This quote represents short-lived successes within our own lives, our communities, our families through the utilization of an allegory. The central idea of the stanza is that we indulge in things that make us satisfied and happy, but those indulgences usually don’t fulfill us for long enough. Following the idea is a hidden moral, encouraging us to seek out the stability in life, the things (whether they’re material goods or emotions) that are more than just pleasurable, and may last longer.

“Everybody wants to rule the world”

This hyperbole expresses Tears for Fears’ intent of spreading the idea that whether we agree or disagree, we all have the urge to be at the top, through authority figures, rankings in class, etc. It all goes back to the one central message that the human species’ history of war, genocide, the building of empires, societal expectations, racism, sexism, and any other uneven dynamic pasts have contributed to an overall overconsumption of power. How can we overcome this overindulgence and, instead, embrace the voids and still be satisfied?

The Afterlife

A lingering question among generations continues to be, “What happens after death?” and so he prayed as a lament, as a consolation, and as a hope” (203). Some say we go to heaven or hell and some say we are reincarnated into other organisms. Both of these theories are based on different religions, reincarnation originating from Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism, and heaven coming from Christianity. Simultaneously, nonreligious people believe there isn’t one and we just decompose into the Earth, while life moves on. What if there was another thought of the afterlife? What if our loved ones keep us alive after we die? Whether it’s through prayer or memories, we continue to flourish despite our loss of breath.

In Exit West, Mohsin Hamid narrates the experience of losing a loved one as the uniting of humanity, “the temporary nature of our being-ness, and our shared sorrow” (203). Heartache affiliated with death unifies communities because everyone experiences it at least once in their lifetime. Some people go to funerals, some have services, and some pray; ways to heal from the pain of losing a loved one. Saeed prays for his parents, “as a gesture of love for what had gone and would go and could be loved in no other way… he prayed as a lament, as a consolation, and as a hope” (203). Prayer is utilized as a coping mechanism for Saeed’s grief over the death of his parents, specifically his father. “Young men pray for the goodness of the men who raised them, and Saeed was very much a young man of this mold” (202).

Saeed’s father’s soul continues to exist through Saeed’s prayer. He remains alive.

Does Everything Happen for a Reason?

Camus’ argument states that there is no meaning to life, but life is worth living if one accepts that condition. I agree with the reading of the Myth of Sisyphus because Sisyphus had no option but to repeat the torturous cycle of pushing the rock up the mountain and having it roll back down. What would be the point in being unhappy or fighting it? It’s not going to change, so might as well find an acceptance in his position and allow himself to become happy with it. Also, in The Stranger, Mersault goes to prison after shooting the man. Does he have a choice whether he can stay or leave jail? No. Mersault recognizes this and finds ways to be content with his position in life, no matter the circumstance. The same goes for society as a whole.

The idea that the meaning of life is to live makes sense because the denotation of “life” is “the period between the birth and death of a living thing, especially a human being,” which literally means to live. There are things that contribute to the meaning of our lives, but they do not define the meaning of life as a whole.

I like the mantra, “Everything happens for a reason,”; not because it gives me a purpose, but because it helps me accept the faults and chaos around me. My value goes hand in hand with the idea that nothing really matters in the end, because we’re all going to die, and our future generations are going to die, and the world is going to die. I agree with Camus highly, because the meaning of life is to live, and along the way, happiness, sadness, anger, and other absurdities will contribute with that meaning. Everyone is going to live differently, and that’s their own meaning in life. It’s all subjective but also contributes to the full idea that the meaning of life is to live.

Exposed to the Sun

In The Stranger, the sun and weather is a common occurrence in Camus’ writing. In the context of Maman’s funeral, “The sun was beginning to bear down on the earth and it was getting hotter by the minute… I was surprised at how fast the sun was climbing in the sky… The glare from the sky was unbearable,” (15, 16). Usually, the sun is used with a positive connotation, representing happiness, a bright future, etc. The uncommon use of a negative connotation for the sun in the second chapter correlates with the funeral occurring.

The climax of Part One of The Stranger occurs when Mersault is on the beach. And guess what? The sun is brought up again, “By now the sun was overpowering. It shattered into little pieces on the sand and water,” (55). The sun seems to be brought up in Mersault’s internal monologue when something bad is about to happen. It’s introduced at Maman’s funeral, and then mentioned again as the breaking point before Mersault shoots the Arab man at the beach.

From both contexts, I think the sun acts as a perpetrator to the negative occurrences and sets off Mersault in spiraling mood swings and thought processes.