> AK's Various Thoughts

Catching Up and Looking Forward

I’ve been catching up on all those plays I’d missed. I can now strike By George and The Real Inspector Hound off my ‘to-watch’ list. Fair number of plays still to go, but I swear I’m trying.

Finally caught Hound at Prithvi. It is a text I have loved for years, and perhaps wanted to do, but always been wary of. Hats off to Prashant and Nayantara for having the courage to tackle the wit and wordplay of Stoppard. Their take on it was different from the way I had envisioned it, which made it even more intriguing for me. Also, there is great joy in watching so many friends on stage together, and dressed so well.

I watched By George at Experimental, the best place to see it, given the use of the space. More friends in the cast. The highlight for me was Village Wooing, featuring sublime performances by Aahana Kumra and one of my favourites, Faisal Rashid. Another favourite, Anand Tiwari (currently on his way to big things, including massive hoardings of a new film with him in the lead) was great fun to watch too, as usual.

Still need to work my schedule around and catch Arms and the Man and Stories in a Song. Missed the latter yet again because I trotted off to Gurgaon to perform at Epicentre, which is quite a lovely venue, and is cultivating an audience slowly but surely. We had two solid shows (and one solid house), with a lot of breathless actors, who spent a lot of energy and time running up and down stairs to double up as light and sound operators. Travel on a tight budget, and there’s bound to be some huffing and puffing!

I’m currently involved in Short+Sweet, a short play festival that was born in Australia and is now happening in Mumbai for the first time. Ira Dubey is holding fort as festival director, which is quite a task, but she’s been managing superbly.  Directed two short pieces, one by Satchit Puranik, which is unconventional yet arresting, and another by Cerise de Gelder, an amazingly talented Australian gentleman. An army of actors one hasn’t seen much of before is involved, and there are quite a few bright sparks. Happy hunting ground for us theatre wallahs. Also, some interesting writing. I think, over time, this festival could turn into a very prominent showcase of new talent. Something like a Thespo Lite.

Speaking of Thespo, I believe the screening process has begun. Some of the young ones from Akvarious are currently working on a very fun script that has largely emerged from the twisted mind of Adhir Bhat, whose hilariously offensive writing has been making waves in the comedy circuit of late. Meanwhile, the likes of Siddharth Kumar are cleaning up their final drafts for Writers Bloc, which will regale us in January 2012.

So much theatre to look forward to. So few affordable performance venues.

More on that later.