Thursday, August 24, 2006

The Play within the play

I never happened to watch a play after I started understanding things, the only play I had watched was a play from Malgudi days, with the main character being played by Shankar Nag. That was ages ago, when I had barely started differentiating the king from the queen. And I remember it was an open-air theatre and quite amazing the performance was. Though didn't understand much of it. It was about some illicit relationships, etc.

Just a few weeks back, getting to know about this Metro Plus Drama festival from one of my friends, I decided to rekindle(??) my interest in professional drama watching. Something apart from the college dramas.

The first drama we went to, was called "The Shadow Box". A Pulitzer award winning play, it dealt with three different people all suffering from cancer, terminal stages, and their struggles with cancer, and how it is quite impossible for their near and dear ones to come to terms with this sad but inevitable fact.

This play was good, with almost everyone performing well. An actor by the name Ram was exceptional. There was a newcomer, who fumbled a little, but his role was quite small and insignificant I would say.

Totally impressed by the play, we decided to go for the next play, "Othello". This used "the play within the play" concept. Probably if I knew Othello, I would have enjoyed this more. But speaking the truth, I hated the play, though enjoyed the play more than the first one.

The best thing about the play was the final Kathakali adaptation, the only part which I liked, but surprisingly, I had forgotten what happens in the play.

What I decided was plays are good, but to be a good actor, you must know the language well, and whatever we do, English would always remain an alien language for us. If the play were in a regional language or Hindi, I am sure, the plays would be very brilliant. They say Kannada, Marathi and Bengali theatre in India is amazing. Since Kannada and Marathi seem to be two languages which I understand, and Kannada I understand well. I hope to be watching a Kannada play soon. Probably in Ranga Shankara. Some of the best actors I have heard come from Kannada theatre. Hopefully get to watch them scene.

Things I know:
Marathi theatre is very experimental
Kannada theatre is very orthodox but much more intelligent and intense
Bengali theatre is awesome, but I wouldn't understand anything. Bengalis have art running in their blood.

Things I expect:
A good experience

Things I don't expect:
Painful audience

Things I learnt:

First play: Its easy to be friends with a person when he/she is doing fine. But when they are not doing well. They puke, they wet their pants, they don't look good, if you still feel like going near them, and if possible help them, then only then they are someone you can think of being friends with forever. A friend is for a general case. It could well be a spouse as well.

Second Play: Its difficult to understand when an Assamese speaks in a brit accent.


Nitya said...

We believe only that, what we want want to. If we choose not to believe, we can remain oblivious of the most blatant truths in life. Very much like the Ostrich does.

And yeahhh....awesome post, "dude" :P

themiddler said...

Nice one... Completely agree on the language issue.

It is SUCH a limitation. For example, In the View From a Bridge, a play by Arthur Miller, he captures the coarseness of Brooklyn life very well in English and it is so natural.

How much ever one may have command over the English Language, it is not possible to reproduce the scene at say Chennai Port Trust!

And regarding regional theatre, Girish Karnad is such a genius. Would have liked to see his plays in Kannada itself.