BOXERS, 40 SHOWS AND PETER PAN
I’m writing this from an auditorium in Coimbatore, where things are moving at a particularly slow pace. This is probably enhanced by my lack of sleep and disorientation caused by a hopping flight at dawn. I’m setting up for the first of forty shows in May alone. The thought is adding to my exhaustion. On days that I have slept better, this thought also brings me great joy.
As a producer, I am on the verge of premiering our biggest, most ambitious production yet. We’re bringing Peter Pan to the stage. And this lad comes with Pirates, Lost Boys, Darlings, Red Indians and a host of animals. Basically, at least 25 people are coming together to create this. And if the rehearsals are anything to go by, the kids are in for a real treat. Filled with sweet songs and some swashbuckling, this promises to be a whole lot of fun. And personally, I just can’t get enough of Kumud Mishra’s fantastic portrayal as the legendary Captain Hook.
One of the theatrical highlights of April was performing 4 plays at Sudarshan Rangmanch, Shaniwar Peth, Pune. I’ve mentioned earlier that it’s this wonderfully intimate space in the heart of the city with a cultivated audience. English theatre is not too frequently played here, so our plays were met with tremendous enthusiasm. Perhaps one of the biggest advantages was that we were staying in an apartment across the corridor. One could stumble out of bed and into the auditorium. For an early morning show, I did most of the set up in my boxers. Memorable, to say the least.
As far as play watching goes, I caught two. I repeated Makrand Deshpande’s Miss Beautiful. Primarily about aging parents, it is a moving piece that has, on both occasions, made me want to be a better son. I doubt there is a nicer compliment out there than that. I also caught Aasakta’s Junglenama in Pune. A simple, effective story, the highlight was the amount of effort that the actors had put into portraying the animals. Clearly a fair amount of work had gone into studying the body language of the respective animals, because they were replicated very well. The play also featured some very effective shadow puppetry, especially one sequence involving mice.
I’ve written this article in a leisurely manner over 3 hours, with breaks for pizza, aerated drinks, unsuccessful attempts at speeding things up and general inane conversations. However, being Coimbatore on a lazy Sunday, and May Day at that, not much has progressed here. The show is to start in four hours, and in the last five, eleven lights have been rigged. Nonetheless my lack of sleep, mentioned earlier, has resulted in a fairly zen state of mind. I will now watch the clouds while they slowly unpack the microphones.