AK's Various Thoughts

CHAOTIC TIMES

I must apologize. I am the reason that this edition of The Script is up a day later than it should have been. In a week from now (less, actually), I am taking 35 people to Bangalore to perform 9 shows of 6 different plays over 5 days. Without a sponsor. I’m currently dealing with the realization of the magnitude of my foolishness, while also handling travel plans (similar to transporting a zoo), accommodation (posing serious threat to the hotel we stay in), publicity (pushing the limits of attachment sizes) and rehearsals (now also having to stand in for a part, because the costume fits), and as such have been unable to focus on writing my article. Thus the delay. In light of this paragraph, I hope you will forgive me. And if you’re in Bangalore and reading this, come to Ranga Shankara between October 8 and 11, with lots of friends, well stuffed wallets and support our suicidal cause.

The theatre scene was pretty active in September. Early in the month, Aasakta, the hugely talented group from across the expressway, reappeared with Kashmir Kashmir, helmed by Mohit Takalkar, a true master of his craft.

Feroz Abbas Khan reappeared with revivals of All The Best (no connection with the much hyped Diwali movie, though that is based on a play – Uncle Samjhaa Karo) and Salesman Ramlal, his adaptation of the Arthur Miller classic, Death of a Salesman, which featured a bravura performance by Satish Kaushik.

Q Theatre Productions reappeared, soon after its last production, with Some Girl(s), a play by Neil LaBute (and not LaButa as some people will have you believe), which opened to great houses at NCPA, despite having to clash with an India Pakistan cricket match. Rumor has it that the adaptation is brilliant, and is the primary reason behind the crowds flocking to the theatre.

The month ended with the opening of Arpana’s latest, S*x, M*rality and Cens*rship (hope I’ve placed the asterisks correctly), directed by Sunil Shanbag. This is a brave piece of work, pushing many envelopes, providing us with a window into another theatrical era, paying tribute to Sakharam Binder, Vijay Tendulkar’s absolutely fantastic text, and raised pertinent questions about some of the terms in the title. Its part history class, part presentation, and part spectacle, and certainly qualifies as a ‘should-watch’.

Amidst all this, we pulled off a pretty interesting dramatized reading of Rakhel, a play by the respected poet Keki Daruwala, at Chauraha at NCPA. We got a bunch of old faithfuls, dressed them up in costumes from other plays, and read out an entire play with fairly elaborate blocking. The few people who came by to see it (didn’t the others see “free” on the invites?) were quite taken aback, as they were expecting to see some people reading somberly off barstools, and not choreographed fight sequences and sex scenes. (Now you’ll come watch, won’t you?) This was followed by an intelligent discussion (which, of course, we couldn’t be part of!) and the writer got some valuable insight into his text, and is currently tweaking it.

I’m wrapping up now. Have to cancel some train tickets, design some flyers and go to some rehearsals. You mustn’t think I don’t enjoy this. I love planning complicated trips from Bombay to Bangalore, via Nagpur, Kanpur and Kerala. Theatre actors, you see, are always shooting for ad films. I also love redesigning flyers because a logo of somebody who is buying more than 4 tickets has to be included. And most of all, I love rehearsals, now that I have to act in addition to all this chaos. And have to deal with the incorrigible Sanjay Dadhich, who, when recently accused of being an arrogant actor, calmly replied, “In theatre, if you are humble, you fumble.”