I used to be a regular spectator of plays, mostly in English and rarely in Kannada, presented at Rangashankara, Bangalore. But from last six months following this passion has taken a back seat due to several personal reasons. Couple of weeks back I happened to watch this collection of four short plays exhibited as An Evening With Anton Chekhov in Rangashankara. That prompted me to write this post about that play and two other plays that I watched sometime back, but never managed to write about in this space- Afterlife of Birds and Ms Meena.
An Evening With Anton Chekhov is a collection of short plays by Chekhov basically dealing with frustrations happening to people while dealing with surroundings. Directed by Anmol Vellani, all of these plays has one male protagonist's monologue were he vents his frustrations about life, job, monotony, society, physical weakness, old age etc. The beauty is that never for a moment during the show audience are made to feel bogged down by the continuous cribbing, thanks to clever scripting and brilliant acting. We all had a good laugh. But we also identified with the plight of these men and sympathized with them. I am sure all of us felt within ourselves the presence of them at one point of time or another.
Afterlife of Birds, an award winning play directed by Abhishek Majumdar deals with several important aspects of modern life- terrorism, loyalty, patriotism, importance of family and such. Major incentive for me to watch this play was seeing Revathy, one of the best actor in the country performing live. The play follows two narratives that meets at the end- one about the relationship between two women who joins LTTE together and another about the relationship between a father who is a bandwallah performing in the Republic Day Parade and his terrorist son who want to disrupt the parade as a suicide bomber. One of the best things I feel is that the play never tries to be judgemental about the politics behind terrorism. It just portrays certain situations where people need to confront their ideologies, live with them, or oppose them.
A thought provoking script backed by powerful performances makes this play a must watch. Ms Meena is a play directed by Rajiv Krishnan and deals with the vices of materialism. The play is very colorful and told in a very retro style of way. People of Pitchampuram, a poverty stricken village, are eagerly awaiting for Ms Meena, formerly Asha, a popular movie star who used to live in that village before becoming so. She is coming back to film her last movie and has promised to deliver them out of poverty, but at a price. Performances and innovative presentation makes it worth watching.