Not having seen a play for past few weeks because of traveling and other commitments, I was happy to see a long list of plays being staged in Delhi over the weekend. It was a little hard to choose, but I chose a play by a group of engineering graduates and students. Maybe it was do something with the engineer inside. I got a chance to speak with the Director of the play Hemant Kathuria. He developed passion for theatre after meeting and working with IIT alumni from 1981 who have taken their passion of theatre as seriously as their corporate careers. This is his 7th stage production.
About the play:
This play is based on a popular play called ‘Fools’. It is about trials and tribunes of a man in a village which is cursed for stupidity for 200 years. The curse can go away under two conditions – either at least one of the villagers gets educated or a girl truly falls in love with a man and gets married. Such a situation creates lots of opportunities for having the audience in splits. The humor comes out of the innocence and stupidity of the characters. The intellectuals among us might take is an extension and exaggeration of the ignorant and stupid part present among each one of us. The characters are well crafted, dramatic and sometimes over the top. A Punjabi speaking ‘Nawaab Sahab’ dancing in ghaghra choli, might sound tacky but its not. However there are parts where I did feel that the routine of high stupidity gets old, over all the play is not boring especially when you think it has ended but it just has taken a different turn. The teacher who believes that he can cure the people of their stupidity, goes through a sea of emotions – surprise, annoyance and love. Annoyance and Love come in hand-in-hand for all of us but not like it did in this play. The innocence or rather stupidity of all characters is brought out via there understanding of simple things like rain and medicines. However, you do wonder how the village has been able to survive all this while. Maybe that is my over analytical mind speaking. The play has elements of Hindi masala movie – love triangle, dance, humor and even suspense. Though I thoroughly enjoyed the play, there were some things which can be worked upon. There characters can be given a little more uniqueness and identity. I absolutely loved the character of the sheep herder and Nawab Sahab. I apologies for not getting the cast correct but I think their characterization an presentation was the most hilarious and they performed their job with great enthusiasm. And one has to absolutely love the over zealous mother for whom just walking around the room is a song and dance event.
To conclude, this was a play which isn't too bad, though do not expect that it would keep you in splits all through. You will go back home happy of an evening well spent but you might end up feeling it is just wee bit away from being a masterpiece.
One thing which the group can improve is the overall time management. The play started late and the break in between was also longer than the said time. Other than that, I would wish them all the very best for their other shows.
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