AK'S Various Thoughts

Marriage, META & Macau

I know people out there were shattered that my article did not appear last month. People who wait all month to read what I have to say and then click ‘cool’ or ‘funny’ or message me their appreciation. I apologize to all four of them. I was caught up with the most ambitious production of my life – my wedding. High stress, big budgets, not nearly enough rehearsal, but yes, sold out performances, and somewhat respectable earnings. Pretty good deal, I dare say.

Only a week after, a small unit headed off to Delhi for the Mahindra Excellence in Theatre Awards. The unit included a charming local boy with an affinity for the ladies, a groggy production guy with an affinity for cricket, and a neurotic writer with an affinity for booze. Yes, traveling with small units can be challenging too.

We had a nice, precise show. The audience was sufficiently appreciative. The next day there were two shows to be watched. One we missed owing to a rather late and elaborate lunch. The other – Dancing on Glass by Ram Ganesh Kamatham - we managed to catch. A lovely set, two thoroughly enjoyable lead performances, but some technical glitches prevented it from soaring.

Awards night followed, we dressed up and went drinking. As such, when we won four big awards, most recipients were a little shaky on their feet and the support group was rather boisterous. Quite a night though. Great recognition for the play (The Interview by Siddharth Kumar, for the record) and the team. Celebrations went on all night and included some tremendously graceful ballet by the playwright in a posh hotel lobby.

My honeymoon followed, and I managed to sneak in a couple of shows into our itinerary. These do not include fire shows in beachside bars or dolphin shows at Ocean Park. First up, in Macau, I caught a spectacular Cirque du Soleil show called Zaia. It’s meant to be about a girl’s journey into space, but I didn’t quite see much narrative in there, and honestly, it wasn’t needed. Visually breathtaking, the show had flying clowns, stunning trapeze artists, astronauts in mid-air, dancers on roller skates, fire eaters, and some beautiful and moving ballet watched by a polar bear. Yes, a polar bear. Anyhow, no description would do it justice. YouTube could give you some idea.

In Hong Kong, I caught a Chinese version of Death and the Maiden by Ariel Dorfman, with English subtitles. A great plot that’s had many productions, including a cinematic one helmed by Polanski, this version by the Hong Kong Repertory Theatre started a little clunky and screechy, but gradually found its groove and became a very gripping experience. Occasionally gimmicky, it still managed to make great use of a projector (where, at one point, we, the audience, became the audience / backdrop of a concert that the characters were attending) and one moment of brilliance involving the revolving stage, where the axis of the house changed to great effect.

We also caught Golden Lotus, a Chinese ballet by the Beijing Dance Theatre. Quite unlike conventional ballet, this was based on a controversial and thus banned novel, and had a great deal of sex. It was long, with two intervals, and had pieces where I found it hard to stay awake, but also had some very beautiful tableaus. This was somewhat expected, since the sets and costumes had been designed by Tim Yip, the Oscar winning art director of Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon.

Back home, I caught a show of QTP’s latest production, a reprise by Vivek Madan of his Thespo winner, Nostalgia Brand Chewing Gum. A fairly standard relationship comedy, with a couple of devices to set it apart. For example, a couple of the actors kept breaking away from the scene in progress and began talking to the audience. Apparently, in the show after the one I saw, an actor had a tough time because some particularly sassy audience member decided to talk back!

That’s about all for now. I shall not write any more. India just won the Cricket World Cup, and my article is going to have to compete with all the cricket talk that is going to deservedly dominate the next week of our lives. So yes, I admit, my vast readership may get affected.