Altering the Love Laws As We Thought We Knew It

Throughout the novel The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy the topic of caste differences, specifically between Velutha and the Ayemenem house. However, in the last chapter of the novel, we get an in-depth explanation of sex between Velutha and Ammu. From about the middle to the end of the novel the relationship between Ammu and Velutha seemed to be a crime of passion and lust. But with the description of the sex between these two, not only is it the only time in the story where we are told this is happening vividly, but the chapter holds more power than just lust. This chapter contrasts the traditional viewpoints between Touchables and the Untouchables and destroys everything thought of with the Love Laws motif explained throughout the novel, more specifically, who can be loved. In it’s explained, “She could hear the wild hammering of his heart. She help him till it calmed down. Somewhat” (Roy 316). The explanation of Velutha’s heart-pounding somewhat humanizes him, which goes against how he has been characterized before, as an animal. I also find the word choice of the chapter, The Cost of Living, very interesting because it tells the severity of the relationship between Ammu and Velutha. This while chapter not only describes the intimate story between two people but it’s an opposition to the mistreatment and alienation of lower caste people but the true love between Ammu and Velutha, far beyond what Baby Kochamma — who could not believe that Ammu would even allow this to happen— thought of their relationship.

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


Synopsis

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

Themes

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.

Orientalism:

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. 


Characters

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

 – INTERMISSION – 

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