Friday, September 19, 2014

Play Review: OOPS! by Kailvalya Plays

I had two special reasons to watch this play and boy, was I happy I saw it. First reason, in the past I have seen a play by Asmita based on the same story "Death of an Anarchist", so I wanted to see how different directors adapt the same play, differently. Seconds reason was the protagonist of the play. I and Aakash were batchmates during our TCTS (Theatre for change, Theatre for society) by Asmita theatre group in 2011. Since then he has been actively involved with his college's theatre group and I wanted to see his work having attended theatre classes with him

Nobel Laureate Dario Fo wrote "Accidental death of an Anarchist" back in 1970 and since then it has been adapted and performed all over the world. The play was inspired by the death of Giuseppe Pinelli, a railroad worker who died after falling from fourth floor of a Milan police station.
It not only takes a good writer but great actors to send people into splits while bringing to notice a serious and important issue of police atrocities. All characters have been adapted well to an Indian situation by giving them certain amount of quirkiness Indians would relate with - be it SP Subhramanian Vallapattu (played by Ashish Dha) with a strong and beautifully executed South Indian accent or hawaldar Harpal Singh Cheema (played by Ratana Sambhav) who has more enthusiasm than brains or control on his tongue or SP's chamcha Insp. Rohtas Choudhary (played by Rupseh Sharma). The play however belongs to "The mad man", the central character played with aplomb by Aakash Gupta. While it might seem I am a little biased while looking at his work, but the rest of the audience who went into applause and splitting laughter were not. Right from the brief pauses in dialogue delivery to the energetic body language and the eye expression, he has delivered an incredible performance. The character is a clinically insane but decides to "investigate" the death of the social worker by posing as a judge. Curtain raiser is "the mad man" interacting with the audience like a stand up comedian. Each actor has given their heart and soul to their characters. I wish though that  character of the reporter, Meenakshi Dutta (played by Riya Singh) was given a little bit more stage time to develop the character and to give it some depth.  The ending is different in this adaptation compared to two alternative endings in the original writing. Watch it to know it. No spoilers here.

The play is fast paced and energetic through out, with both verbal and physical humour without getting slapstick. Kaivalya Plays have adapted it very differently than Asmita. Both are enjoyable but you walk away feeling differently. In this one, you would be carrying back a big smile on your face. 

I would highly recommend this play to anyone who wishes to see a left vs right debate laced with humour or anyone looking for a classic comedy.

Play By: Kaivalya Plays

Cast of the play:
Madman: Aakash Gupta
SP Subhramanian Vallapattu: Ashish Dha
Inspector Rohtas Choudhary: Rupesh Sharma
Inspector Sunil Yadav: Piyush Kumar
Constable Harpal Singh Cheema: Ratana Sambhav
Meenakshi Dutta: Riya Singh
Play Directed and adapted by: Shrishti Gupta and Karanjot Singh

Monday, August 4, 2014

Play Review: No Experience of theatre required by Turquoise Palette

A motivational speaker once said “Never let inexperience get in way of your ambition”. While it makes a lot of sense and is motivating but it can spell disaster in wrong hands. The play depicts such a disaster perfectly.  The result of having an inexperienced, overconfident director putting up a play with self absorbed and eccentric nincompoop of a cast will drive audiences to the limit of their patience and have them demand refund. Do not worry, I am not talking about this play but about the play within this play. Confused? I did not demand my money back because I could barely stop laughing through the entire play. The play takes you through the process and the end result of couple of crazy people, with IQ as low as our economic growth rate, coming together and trying and create a theatrical masterpiece. The play begins with the said play being performed in front of the audience but then suddenly everyone starts to improvise resulting in a classical greek tragedy looking like comedy of errors. The entire cast has fit to their role like a well fitted glove but the play belongs to Shibani Bedi – the recovered (or has she) mentally unstable Punjabi girl who brings her Punjabi flavor to Medea’s role. There were moments when she sent the audience in splits even with her mere body language without even saying a word.

The Akshara theatre was a perfect setting for the play as there is no dead spot in the stage at anytime. Actors keep performing their acts in the background with as much zest as the performer in focus. The small stage helped audience capture all that is going on the stage. Not only was the script hilarious, the delivery by every actor was spot on. Adhiraj Sharma needs a special mention too playing an over-confident, self absorbed, inexperienced, talentless actor. All characters get into character to get out of it. Arun Prakash delivers a phenomenal performance as the inexperienced Director, whose English would make the Queen laugh rather than feel offended.

What makes the play ironic is the fact that it is actually the first play written, directed and music composed by Pallav Chander and newly formed Turquoise Palette. Let’s see what other colors this palette has. However, while this might be the first time he wore director’s shoes, he is no newbie to the theatre scene and it shows with the attention to detail and the engaging screenplay.

I highly recommend this play. It was by close friend’s birthday and I took him there and he said it is the best birthday he could’ve had. So, do catch it the next time. Don’t miss it. I won’t.

Production By: Turquoise Palette

Written, Directed and Music By: Pallav Chander

Lights by: Vinimay
Director: Arun Prakash
Hades: Adhiraj Sharma
Aphrodite: Shibani Bedi
Zeus: Shekhar Murugan
Psoidon: Nand Chopra
Dancer: Shivani Nagar
Let Zip: Varoon P Anand
Choreographer: Dimple Kaur
Guruji: Harish
Veteran Guest: Sarthak Mattoo

Assistant: Subhashani/ Debontika

Saturday, March 15, 2014

MEDEA by Saanjha Sapna

When was the last play you saw, written? 10 years ago? 20 years ago? 100 years ago? How about 2400 years ago? Medea is a classic ancient Greek Tragedy written by Euripides in 431 BC.

“Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned” can describe this play in one line. The play tells the story of Medea who has been betrayed by her husband, Jason who has taken fancy of the king Creon’s daughter, Glauce. Fearing his daughter’s safety and disruption of her marriage to Jason, king orders Medea to be sent into exile. However, she pleads for one day’s delay and she uses it to extract her revenge on everyone involved.

                                Pic Source: Saanjha Sapna FB Page

Directed by Kanchan Ujjal Singh, this play might not appeal to all. Sonamm Sharma, playing the role of Medea, gets to depth of character’s grief and brings out the deepest emotions of her grief, vengeance and anger. This play is true drama with script being expressed with just not the mouth but with hands, eyes and the whole body. There is no place for satire, humor or even a mild joke in a greek tragedy. Only emotions the characters know are anger and envy. Performances are done with conviction and energy. I think however, a little bit of more practice and coordination could improve the presentation. The one I saw was their very first performance and having met the cast, I know they are working on it. While the story is told in many forms several times, the emotions explored are very complex.

                                Pic Source: Saanjha Sapna FB Page

Sonamm Sharma
Adhiraj Sharma
Tushar Dhaundiyal
Pallav Chander
Varoon P.Anand
Dimple kaur
Nitika Arora
Devyani sharma

Directed by Kanchan Ujjal Singh