In the sweltering heat of May (is it me or is the sun beating down much harder this year?), we put the repertory through 39 grueling shows. A tad inhuman, perhaps? Well, if the IPL can do it, so can we. Anyhow, human rights issues aside, the point is that I saw no theatre, besides our own, of course. Although that is debatable too, because an actor apparently brought his girlfriend onto stage in a show recently for which I was manning lights and sound, and I didn’t even notice.
The last article ended with me waiting endlessly in Coimbatore for set up to begin. That set up did eventually happen, after many flare ups. However, moments before the show, it rained, and both dimmer boards stopped working. People ran helter-skelter to fix it. The boards came back on, but of course the patching had changed. Some hideous colour combinations emerged. More panic. Finally the show began. It looked awful, but the actors were visible. The performances took over and regaled the audiences. People laughed, cried, got their money’s worth. One person told me that the large shadows (caused by the aforementioned technical disaster) were a great touch, because it seemed that the play was about more than just the characters, but a bigger world beyond. I took complete credit for the idea.
Peter Pan (the epic production mentioned last month) opened finally, and unbelievably there were more people in the audience than on stage. Yes sir, it took eight full houses to achieve that! A trip to Bangalore followed (to Ranga Shankara) where we were greeted with surprisingly good houses all week and great feedback. Also, the food was great. Some great restaurant decisions.
Back in Mumbai, The Comedy Store opened its doors to us, with fairly favorable results. The stage is tiny (and the backstage tinier), and often as tough to conquer as a particularly large one, but it’s a good new space, with a good new audience, so basically, it’s good news. Tech team is hugely helpful. Mall staff, less so. Tickets (and food) are pretty steep, but what else do you expect inside Palladium, the kingdom of posh? All I can say is thank God for the South Bombay elite.
A run at the NCPA followed with shows for children in the Godrej Dance Theatre and regular shows a floor above. The kids’ shows had a low turnout. They were hit by the early evening heat methinks. An actor in the kids’ shows was also hit, in the face, by a thick wooden wing in a blackout. She bravely proceeded to do a couple of scenes in true Balboa mode, with blood streaming into her eyes. Earlier in the month, in another blackout during set up, another actor fell and hurt her foot more seriously than we thought. She is limping back to normalcy. Both ladies are consciously working less with us now, and attempting to sue us. Relationships are strained. The quality of mercy clearly isn’t.