SINNING, WRITERS BLOC AND TOURING
Forgive me Father, for I have sinned. It has been two months since my last article…
Right. With that confession out of the way, time to dive right back into theatre talk. Here’s my lowdown on January and February.
In the second week of 2012, Writers Bloc 3 exploded onto the Mumbai theatre scene. Twelve original plays, each with a distinct voice and style. I was directing one of the twelve, so I couldn’t catch all, but I managed to see Djinns of Eidgah by Abhishek Majumdar (featuring some very attractive men and a lovely design), Jaal by Annie Zaidi (featuring Debtosh Darjee’s stunning turn as a dog), OK Tata Bye Bye by Purva Naresh (can there possible be a better Sardar than Gagan Riar?), Pereira’s Bakery at 76 Chapel Road by Ayeesha Menon Dryden (featuring many friends and one of my favourite sets of recent times), Satellite City by Irawati Karnik (featuring a bravura performance by my buddy Aseem Hattangady) and the exquisitely crafted Shillak by Sagar Deshmukh (directed by Pradeep Vaiddya, a king among men).
After the success of The Interview, Siddharth Robert Kumar penned Spunk for Writers Bloc, which I directed. I think it took some time to fall into place but has turned out rather well. A reviewer for The Script also thought so. And Bangalore audiences went completely gaga over it.
We had some of our own shows in January too. All About Women ran to packed houses even after 4 years and 60 shows. Super 8, a collection of comic sketches strictly not for kids, ran to an almost full house at 11am on a Sunday!
We also went off to Ahmedabad to perform Classic Milds at MICA. Technically the show was an uphill task (apparently light suppliers had shut shop and gone off to fly kites), but the stay was lovely and the experimental food at the “Chota” canteen was memorable. Also, Tahira Nath, who is an ex student, is something of a legendary figure there, so watching her surrounded by young followers was vastly entertaining.
I spent all of February performing shows of The Interview. First in Kerala, and then for three weeks in Bangalore at Jagriti, which is one of the most wonderful performance venues that I have come across in the country. The place is run by Arundhati and Jagdish Raja, who are not only wonderful hosts, but also treasure troves of theatrical information. Doing an 18 show run is hardly ever possible here, though it is the norm in the West, and after I watched the play grow from show to show, I totally understand why.
We also managed to sneak in two shows of our new comedy, Jumpstart, the first of which was the opening show of the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival, and ran to an overcrowded house at the NGMA. The second show was at The Comedy Store, for which it was designed, and it managed a very good house despite a price hike at the venue. 500 bucks a ticket now. 100 bucks more than before, but seems like a quantum leap. How theatre is going to be affected by this inflation (all across venues in the city) is something that only time will tell.