Pierrot’s Troupe; Director: Dr M Sayeed Alam & Niti Sayeed; India Habitat Center, New Delhi
[Guest author’s note: When I sms-ed my daughter, Shuchi, from Stein Auditorium the other day that I was watching the play Big B, it was one of those little things you share with your family. I least expected that she would ask me to write its review for DramaDose. She has been writing her reviews like a pro, and I was conscious that I could not match her knowledge or flair for writing. However, I decided to give it a shot. So, if what follows sounds incongruous with the general tenor of DramaDose, you know the reason – it is not written by Shuchi but by her Dad. And my explanation for this trespass is Main aya nahi hun, laya gaya hun – to paraphrase an old Mohammad Rafi song, (Mujhe duniyawalo sharabi na samjho) main peeta nahi hun pilayi gayi hai.
That is a rather flippant start to a review on DramaDose. It could be because ‘flippant’ was the most dominant feeling I had when I came out of the auditorium after 100 minutes of Big B, a play that has long been on my must-watch list as it was said to be based on Premchand’s famous story Bade Bhai Saheb. – AK]
The play Big B
When a literary work is adapted to a performing medium – theatre or cinema – a comparison between the two is inevitable. But let me start with Pierrot’s Big B as a creative work on its own.
Posted on Dec 11th, 2012 by Sreekanth
Hayavadana (meaning horse-face), a play written by Girish Karnad, is the story of three protagonists Devadatta, Kapila, and their lady-love Padmini. The play is based on Thomas Mann’s Germans play The Transposed Heads, which in turn was based on the sixth story of Vetala Panchavimshati Katha, written in Sanskrit.
Benaka, one of the oldest theatre groups in Karnataka founded by theatre veteran and parallel-cinema pioneer B.V.Karanth, staged the play at Rangashankara. The star cast was led by noted film maker T.S. Nagabharana as the narrator, Mico Chandru as Devadatta, Poornachandra Tejaswi as Kapila, and Vidya Venkataram (all familiar faces on television and theater circuit). B.V. Shrunga of Boy With A Suitcase fame joined Pavan, Nagabharana’s son Pannaga Bharana and others as a companion of the narrator. Not surprisingly, Rangashankara was jam-packed.
Posted on Jun 27th, 2012 by Shuchi
in Theatre Trivia
You can live without knowing these words, but when wading through highfalutin writing/conversations about theatre you will be glad to have them in your verbal armoury.
Meaning: The resolution of the intricacies of a plot.
Origin: From the French word dénouer, which means ‘untying’.
Nothing Like Lear, the play calls itself – are we to take the name at face value? As with the rest of the play, the title too teases us with the bind of what to reject and what to believe. The show draws from the story and characters of the Shakespeare’s Lear but fits no neat label of adaptation or parody.
Watching Rajat Kapoor’s Nothing Like Lear can be oddly unsettling – it is like participating in a game of one-upmanship between actor and audience, a game in which the actor is always a step ahead. As we walk into the auditorium before the play starts, we see a clown (Vinay Pathak) on stage making small talk with the crowd, assuring us "it hasn’t started yet". When that small talk segues into the actual act, we cannot tell. And so it goes on. The lone actor recounting his often rambling, seemingly disconnected stories, inviting the audience to fill in the blanks. We’re constantly questioning what’s happening on stage: is this an aside from the act, a part of the act, or a part of the act within act? We think we know, but keep learning every now and then that we we were mistaken.
Posted on May 15th, 2012 by Shuchi
, Other Languages
There haven’t been many times in life when I’ve wished to exchange places with the ten-headed Ravan: watching Komedy-e-Eshtebahat at Ranga Shankara brought me close to it. An Afghan adaptation of Shakespeare’s The Comedy Of Errors, the play in Dari Persian (a dialect of Persian spoken in Afghanistan) was supplemented with English subtitles displayed at either end of the RS stage. All the hurdles associated with subtitling plays came to the fore this show. With fast-paced action, multiple characters and a deluge of dialogue, it was next to impossible for a single pair of eyes to catch the subtitles and the performance at the same time. Matters were compounded by the nature of the subtitles. Shakespeare can be hard enough to follow in book form at personalised pace. How many lay-viewers can read and absorb such lines flashing on screen in a couple of seconds while the play is on?
Hath he not lost much wealth by wreck of sea?
Buried some dear friend? Hath not else his eye
Stray’d his affection in unlawful love?
Posted on Mar 29th, 2012 by Shuchi
in Theatre Trivia
The standard injunction at any theatre space – "switch off your mobile phone" – may be going out of fashion.
In a nod to our increasingly digitalized lives, theatres overseas have brought in the concept of "tweet seats" – seats in theaters that are set aside for people who want to live-tweet a performance. The LA Times blog reports:
Tweet seats first started surfacing at the end of the ’00s. In 2009, the Lyric Opera in Kansas reserved 100 tweet seats for its final performance of Gilbert and Sullivan’s "HMS Pinafore." In those seats (and only those seats) audience members could use their phones to look at tweeted content sent by the theater’s artistic director about the production, the scenery and whatever was happening on stage. Audience members were also encouraged to tweet questions in real time.
Read the full piece here .
Posted on Mar 4th, 2012 by Arvind
Hello readers. I’m back again this time after seeing the results of week #2 i.e. the other set of 10 plays from the top 20. I was so anxious after last week that I actually went to the very first screening of the second half on Thursday evening. In fact, if you haven’t read about the Short+Sweet theatre festival, then I’d suggest you read the previous post to get some context.
The second installment was quite different from the earlier one: the bizarre plays were more bizarre, the rowdy ones were more rowdy and the best ones were better. There was more complex lighting; one of the plays went all the way to having a cast of 6 members, some of the stage set was more elaborate. All in all, this was a more intense installment.