Pramod Biligiri's Blog

Random Musings

Entries by tag: play

Kaayo Kalpa - short and minimalist play
pramod kde
pramodbiligiri
Caught this simple Kannada play called Kaayo Kalpa at K H Kala Soudha. It's a one act play and features a lonely and ageing widower who lives alone with a servant. His sons live in far away America and Mumbai. So this sentimental man keeps having imaginary conversations with his deceased wife at odd times of the day.

These conversations are lively and project the bittersweet aspect of the story very well. But the script never ventures any further and ends abruptly with a monologue by the main character. The acting and music were good, but I wish there was more pathos to the storyline.

Tags:

Lazy People - play that needs more work ;)
pramod kde
pramodbiligiri
Watched a play called Lazy People at K H Kala Soudha earlier today, staged by Pratikriyaa. It was an uneven performance - ranging from awfully stilted to very funny. I wasn't too let down because my friend Bharath and I had just walked into it on a whim.



The story is set in Bangalore and recession is in the air. Most of the protagonists are stupid and incompetent - the "lazy people" - but not without fanciful dreams of success. There's a young and unsuccessful author living off the help from his rich girlfriend and richer younger brother, but with only one chapter to show for three years of attempting a novel! Then a failed businessman pleading his financial analyst wife to fund his newest business venture, even as she keeps yelling at her house-husband for not being able to complete even the simplest of tasks correctly. A crooked chartered accountant is taken to task by his sincere sub-ordinate in the audit division of a bank...

Basically it's not hard to relate to the lifestyle and woes of these people, like when the girlfriend and her "gang" decide to try out this new restaurant on Church Street or two friends catch up at "Where else! Tirumala Bar daa". And that's what carries the audience along. The denouement comes via three bumbling bank robbers who easily make the last act the funniest, but otherwise the play is a tad too long with a running length of 2 hours.

The plot is novel enough (it's their first original production) and there are bright sparks of wit and chemistry. But these are badly hurt by many unnatural sounding dialogues acted out with great effort. For example in the first act I felt I was sitting in class and a teacher reading off lines from a textbook trying to mimic the effect of a play! Ironically, the most authentic portrayal of the city was the stylized speech of the RJ's on the radio in the background, a phenomenon that's notorious for being unnatural :)
Tags:

Imaginary Invalid - a play that wins you over with its honesty
pramod kde
pramodbiligiri
Watched Imaginary Invalid at KH Kala Soudha. It's a highly Indianised English translation of a comic play by some medieval French writer called Moliere. It's about a hypochondriac father who wants to get his daughter married, but to a doctor, so that his perceived medical needs will be well taken care of. However his second wife would rather have her (step)daughter become a nun so that she can grab all of the man's property.



At first the exaggerated and varied Indian accents had me worried that it will turn into cringe-worthy slapstick. But luckily they managed to keep it under control and slowly the plot and the characters begin to grow on you. There's not too much more to the plot, so most of your focus will be on the jokes and the antics. The actors are full of zestful energy, which is exactly what this kind of play needs. The guy in the father's role (played by Praveen) timed even his coughs and wheezes to perfection. The maidservant character also pulled off some difficult parts very well - like the high pitched wails or her posturing as an indigenous doctor.

I don't know how far they had to deviate from Moliere's original, but they've believed in and worked hard at their interpretation and in the end the integrity shows.

K H Kala Soudha is an interesting venue. Two weeks back when they staged Lock out alla Knock out it drew uncles and aunties galore from the neighbouring areas. And today it was full of English speaking youngsters with a sprinkling of firangs too. There's one aspect of this theatre that will forever keep it mediocre: it's government owned. I'm horrified at the sheer wastage of ambient space and time at this venue. Outdated notice boards, stinking loos, makeshift ticket counters, dour looking ushers - it has them all. Nowhere else will you find people with tickets to a play literally standing around for half an hour (and some sitting on gigantic, ugly concrete steps) twiddling their toes with not a drink or a bite. Humphrey is thoroughly wrong.

P.S: Imaginary Invalid is on again at Kyra on Aug 1.
Tags:

Quarterly Report - play that has a few good scenes
pramod kde
pramodbiligiri
Watched this play called Quarterly Report at (where else) KH Kala Soudha earlier today. The blurb said it's about 4 friends hanging out in a bar and bitching about life. So I had gone in expecting a male version of Sex And The City. But boy was I wrong :)

Two minutes into it I could see this one was going gung ho about many social ills plaguing the country, using the lead characters as reference. The first skit pertained to the Reservation issue, which was quite OK and managed to retain attention. But the 2nd episode stood out, based on the incident where some pub-going girls were attacked by vigilantes in Mangalore last year. In particular, the one sequence choreographed to the soundtrack of Requiem for a Dream made it paisa vasool for me. Also, it looks like caricaturing our national news channels is becoming a national pastime :)

After that the plot fizzled out and the tone became lugubrious, what with statistics of Child Sex Abuse getting projected on the screen!

I like that we're seeing young playwrights work on scripts rooted in our lives and times. But this one needs a lot more finish to it. As it stands, it feels overworked and heavy weight dialogues thrust onto the characters. The humour goes missing in the latter half.
Tags:

Nara Simha Yuddham by Mindry
pramod kde
pramodbiligiri
I watched this play along with Kandarp earlier today. I had high expectations due to their many funny Youtube clips, not to mention that they are ex-students of National College, Jayanagar like me and many friends. The play did not live up to the same standard, but was still humourous enough to make for a nice evening. The weakness was the plot, which meandered along for too long and was often used as a prop on which to hang assorted jokes. It is about a mediocre film star who is persuaded by some advisors to cash in on his popularity and run for political office. In the next scene he is shown to have become the Prime Minister and goes on to share a frictious relationship with his Home Minister, who is also the party bigwig who got him elected in the first place.

Read the rest of the review...Collapse )
Tags:

Mindry.in playing at K H Kala Soudha on April 9, 11
pramod kde
pramodbiligiri
Youtube celebrities Mindry.in are staging an original Kannada play Nara Simha Yuddham at K H Kala Soudha on April 9 and 11 (Fri & Sun). I missed their earlier performance at JSS college last year. I don't want to miss this one!

If you haven't heard of Mindry.in, check out this video of their play (which I haven't watched yet):



Full details on this calendar. By the way, their website is quite impressive!

And hat tip to Bapu Karthik for giving me advance intimation of this event :)
Tags:

How does this sound?
pramod kde
pramodbiligiri
Tags:

Mahimapura - mature script and acting
pramod kde
pramodbiligiri
Watched Mahimapura at K H Kala Soudha earlier today, with Arjun for company. I didn't go in expecting anything but the play turned out to be very good.

Mahimapura is the name of a village and the main temple there, of Lord Hanuman, needs a new priest to be appointed as the current one has left. This responsibility falls upon a prominent landlord in that place. Much of the story is about how he struggles to find a good Brahmin person to do the job. Each appointee turns out to be of bad character and god Hanuman keeps showing up in this landlord's dreams to complain and beg for a change. This news reaches the ears of a cunning man in Udupi who pretends to be a pious Brahmin and says Hanuman had appeared in a dream and asked him to proceed to Mahimapura. He wins himself the job and materialist that he is, turns Mahimapura into a major pilgrimage spot with his own partnership in many of the affiliated businesses.

With this as the context, the play touches upon aspects of the caste system, feudal structure of a village, materialist nature of man, and the odd honest chap who sticks to principles. But the story remains central and none of these themes overpower it. So it's a great script by someone called Prasanna. The comedy is superb. There is effective use of dramatic devices like dreams and sutradhar, but for me the highlight was the techniques used in the last 15 minutes.

Here is the entire cast taking a bow:

Due to such a large number of characters, the play has very many acts and it was a bit jarring at first. But soon I stopped noticing it as the different pieces started coming together nicely with a tantalizing climax that again showed the writer's restraint. The background music was just perfect whenever it decided to show up, but was away on leave for large parts.

Try not to miss Mahimapura if you like good old-fashioned Kannada social plays. But nowhere else will you get to see it for 30 bucks :)

Bechaara Maara Gaya - passable fare, slapstick ending
pramod kde
pramodbiligiri
Thanks to this wonderful site called Buzzintown, esp. its mobile version, I got to watch a comedy play in a theatre near me, literally.

Apparently a new auditorium for the arts has been constructed at one corner of the famous Ramanjaneya Temple in Hanumanthanagar. It is called K H Kala Soudha and was inaugurated on the Sankranthi weekend. It has 2 floors and can seat 300 people.

View from the stage at K H Kala Soudha


Today's play was called Bechaara Maara Gaya, which is set in a police station and makes fun of the ineptitude and corruption of the police. The protagonist is a petty thief who's been caught umpteen times for illegal impersonation but merrily proceeds to do the same again within the confines of the police station and a lot of comedy ensues. The dialogue was fairly crisp until the last 15 minutes, when it became a tad repetitive and degenerated into slapstick. The acting was good throughout.

A noticeboard outside said they have play called Mahimapura scheduled for next weekend. Will see...

Another awesome site to find out what's going on is IndianStage.in.

"Doubles, Triples and Quadruples" - play review
pramod kde
pramodbiligiri
Executive summary: This play sucks. Don't go for it.

Evam is trying some new ideas in this "play". Firstly, it's just a series of small unrelated not-so-funny skits. And between acts the actors share with the audience some aspect of their real personal life.

I found most of the skits shallow and silly. True there was a rare good dialogue or two, but overall the skits were set in situations which are both contrived and trite - 2 patients meeting in the waiting room of a psychiatrist (cue the Freud jokes), a "liberal" (sic) father trying to gift his just-turned-19 son a night with a prostitute (American Pie anyone?), another long psychiatrist session at the end...etc. Luckily Evam has good actors who can pull this off. Otherwise it would have been a full two and a half hours of agony. At some point I realized that mainstream Hindi movies are tackling these same themes nowadays with more finesse. What a let down :|

The actors talking about themselves in the middle added absolutely no value. The topics were again the usual suspects - first love (which was easily the most enjoyable of the lot, by someone named Karthik), inter-religious marriage, using the F word onstage, experimenting with cigarettes and wine. I am sorry I forget the rest. However most of the audience were laughing at the right moments, so I guess I was in a minority.

They mentioned something about the plot being "organic", hopefully that means they will change it fast if it doesn't click. I cut the troupe some slack for trying original content. It's obviously very hard and this is an ambitious venture. But for now, I'm going to be suspicious of plays which are not based on well known....plays.

Heck, they are staging "'Art'" again midweek. I loved it when I first saw it, and have half a mind to go watch it and forget I ever saw Doubles, Triples or Quadruples.
Now, off I go to read Haas' review of this play!

P.S: Before the play started, I was ogling at a new set of interviews with Arundhati Roy in The Shape Of the Beast at the bookstore near the entrance of Ranga Shankara. Perhaps anything seems tame after that.

You are viewing pramodbiligiri