Being a man is one of the most stereotyped attributes around... A real man is believed to wear innerwear unwashed for a rather prolonged period of time, he leaves the toilet lid always up, watches foot ball or cricket or wrestling or any MANly sports event, has a stubble and may be a scar on his face that he claims to be the result of a fight with a foe whom he mercilessly vanquished, but which in reality is caused when his friend asked for a loan while he was shaving and he twisted his face to indicate a refusal. When someone behaves against the conventions, he is labelled as weak, infirm or in worst case queer. So many of us, acts according to the stereotype for pleasing others and ends up deep rooting the notions.
Last week this play called, A Guy Thing directed by Akash Khurana based on The Dirty Talk by Micheal Puzzo, presented by Akvarious was staged in Rangashankara. Basically this one explores the dilemma faced by the stronger sex, while they try to be the stronger. Do you have to live according to the conventions of the society, or have a life according the choice of your inner being?
The story takes place in a stormy night inside a cabin, somewhere in a remote place. A very masculine, brutal, abusive guy, Mitch is stranded there with Lino, a nerdy, feminine guy. Mitch's wife has just left him and he meet Lino who claims to be a woman, in an internet chat room. They have some very intimate moments on chat. Mitch gives the directions to his house and finds Lino there, instead of the blonde, sexy girl whom he thought he was chatting to. Furious, he accuses Lino of lying and even orders him to hide behind a dresser. They shouts and screams at each other throughout, accusing each other for telling lies, but finally opens up. A totally confused Mitch, who wants accomodate his wife in his life and at same time want his father to approve of his manhood, confess about the situation in which he had to breakup with his wife. Lino, who lives in the garage of his sister's house, and stalks internet chat rooms disguising his gender, for partners in sex, seems content and happy with his petty life. The play ends when Mitch starts seeing Lino with tolerance and even shows a nod of friendship.
The dialogues are funny and acting by Ali fazal and Neil Bhoopalam is excellent. Though initially, the characterisation seems much cliched, later on it is revealed to be intended. The play tries to make us look beyond stereotypes. The language is loaded with expletives, so a word of caution to those who are weak in that department... Watch at your own risk.