> AK's Various Thoughts

Travelling With Theatre

Arms and the Man, By George, Gajab Kahani, Mamtaz Bhai Patang Wale, The Real Inspector Hound, Stories in a Song, Teesvi Shatabdi, What a Lota. Just a few of the plays that I have somehow managed to miss. It is a indeed a matter of shame for someone who considers himself a theatre enthusiast. But does 'travelling with theatre' qualify as a presentable excuse?

I did manage to catch Falsafa, from the makers of Bade Miyan Deewane. Naturally expectations were high. It was a mixed bag of sorts. While a little trimming and a whole lot of fine tuning is still required, some things worked wonderfully. Imran Rasheed and Sumeet Vyas, in particular, just have this tendency to light up the stage. And noted television writer B M Vyas was a most delightful revelation. Most of all, the play seemed to have it's heart in the right place.

The aforementioned travel refers to shows of The Interview in Chennai, Coimbatore and Hyderabad, as a part of the Metro Plus Theatre Festival. In terms of scale, scope, publicity, hospitality and logistics, I do believe this may be the best fest there is in the country. Audiences were wonderfully receptive. We had never envisioned this play performing to over 900 people. Twice! And while a few Q&A sessions got a little prickly, it was great feedback and interaction. Was especially good to see audience members get into full fledged debates within themselves. In other news, the cast and crew also danced, in full public view, with gay abandon at one festival launch party to infectious Tamil music.

I mentioned earlier about having designed an evening of theatre specifically for The Comedy Store. That's been doing well. Audiences are getting larger. They're also getting more drunk and thus more interactive. The actors, meanwhile, are getting more used to it, and thus more uninhibited. The pieces are getting more offensive. And there's a lot of guilty pleasure in crossing the line, and having people laugh their heads off while you do so.

That's about it. I'm writing this from Village Vasind, District Thane, where the final session of the Writers Bloc process is taking place. I've been sitting in for a few readings. Some great scripts emerging. January 2012 promises to serve up some very interesting original Indian writing. Make a note in your calendars now.