Short and Sweet plays

The second edition of Short + Sweet Mumbai has just concluded, and the second day of the Gala Final had a curious mix of 10 minute plays. The only criteria to make it a short play here is the strict duration of 10 minutes. A standard play usually runs from anything between 1 to 2 hrs in length, so it is no mean challenge to squeeze your story in the time it may take you to switch off and boot your PC. Here is a brief review of the second day’s plays and what went on. Applause — Silly Point Productions The usual team of this production came up with an entertaining concept — the acceptable and outrageous behavior of the audience during a play. Good enough for a few laughs, but the subtlety of humor could have made it even better. Born Lucky — Akvarious Productions Better stuff was expected from a team known to have staged full length, large scale plays of some...
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Manto’s Jeb Katara and Hatak

Mujeeb Khan has re-instated Manto back to where he belonged – Mumbai. The two plays take us admirably through the underbelly world of the city, without succumbing to stereotypes. This year is Manto’s 100th anniversary. Jeb Katara (pick-pocketeer) gives a bizarre twist to sincere intentions amidst the challenges of living a worthy life. So does Hatak (Sugandhi), which reveals human aspirations that refuse to die in the grim realities of a red light district. Manto’s world as depicted in the two short skits is the omnipotent present. His morality has a fixed point – it recognises the ever-struggling human desires against the pull of the circumstances. His characters – Kashi, Sugandhi – are weak, if only because they are, like everyone else, answerable to their conscience. While some performances leave room to be filled, the two plays reveal a writer’s encounter with realities that can disturb when brought to the fore. Performance: At SAISA, Bandra (West) Date: May 13, 2012 ...
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The Good Doctor

Review of play ‘The Good Doctor’ Watching a classic master’s play is like listening to a soul stirring melody, an experience that moulds the recipient’s sensibilities toward what is most basic and human. Neil Simon’s ‘The Good Doctor’, based upon Anton Chekhov’s short stories (Chekhov was trained as a doctor), is one such enthralling experience. Directed by Salim Ghouse, the play is an ensemble of six short pieces that entertain and ennoble with their directness and focus on human frailties, eccentricities and simpleminded wisdom. Human frailties The first piece, ‘Sneeze’ (based on ‘The Death of a Government Clerk’ by Chekhov), is a tragic-comedy of a small officer, Ivan (Salim Ghouse), who sits in a theatre gazing through the opera glass, “at the acme of bliss”, as Chekhov writes in the original story. What brings him down from bliss to ruin in a matter of two days is his loud sneeze that accidently spatters the bald head of a high ranking official from a...
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Rafta Rafta

Review of play Rafta Rafta. An overbearing father and mother from Punjab, and their band of relatives and friends go berserk on the son’s marriage, ignorantly strangulating the married couple’s own new, private life, to the extent that the latter can’t even…..consummate their marriage. Interesting facts and stories emerge out of closet from this absurd situation, that keep the audience glued to the proceedings in this Akvarious production. The trouble begins on the wedding day itself, when the father throws his wit and weight around, and picks up a fight with the son. The disagreements between the two however run much deeper. A week later, things do not change, and the news of dry chemistry between the two leaks out. It is then time to bring out the issues, stories, attachments and sentiments that define the Indian family. Is it mamma’s love and daddy’s affection that has spoiled the boy and the girl? Is it physiological? Will a man-to-man chat work? Is...
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Love on the brink

Review of play ‘Love on the brink’ published in Epic India Love on the brink is a tragi-comic play about three people and their quest for love, happiness and success in life. Overcoming adversities and trials to reach adulthood in varying degrees of material wealth and comfort, two school friends meet after a long gap at a sea promenade. Can love, with all its celebrated powers, breathe new life and change their prospects? Can it help a rich married couple survive divorce and live happily? These are some of the major questions of life and relationships explored in Primetime Theatre’s adaptation of Murray Schisgal’s script. Sudipto Bandopadhyay , orphaned in childhood and jobless for years, is about to take the plunge into the sea when his old school friend Pankaj Chopra , now a rich and successful stock broker, pulls him back. Fifteen years have changed their fortunes for better and worse, and they go on to share their childhood trauma...
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