The Original Last Wish Baby….Good, go see it!

I do wonder what it would be like to be a newspaper reporter and have someone invite you to see their play…my experience is of going as a part of the mango public (aam janta), watching the play, and then writing about it.

Not having visited Ranga Shankara for a while now (family commitments)…I realized that there was an English play on today (3 May 07) and true to my usual habit of seeing everything that’s on at Ranga Shankara…fair play or foul…off I went, with two friends in tow as well.

The play was William Seebring’s “The Original Last Wish Baby”, though the Ranga Shankara newsletter listed the author as that useful person, “Anonymous”. The group putting it up was Dramanon, (Dramatists Anonymous)with the play being directed by Sharanya Ramprakash.

The cast consisted of just 6 actors (and actresses, that word seems out of fashion but I am going to use it)…Deepanjan Dey, Serena Punch, Sharanya, Anand Ramprasad, Suraj Sundararaj, and Vinoj Zacharia played about 40 characters between them during the course of the play. The group is still a little raw, but they are good and there were no obvious lapses on stage or in the production.

As the brochure aptly said, the play was a “blend of black humour pathos, and unexpected moments of comedy.”

A baby is born to Welda Mae Forms, of Cleveland, Ohio….without a heart, and seems to be doing well, too. Corporate America wakes up to the fact that this miracle can be exploited commercially. Meanwhile, Sydney Kornfeld of New Jersey apparently delivers just the heart! The tug-of-war on endorsements, publicity,and ratings goes on…and finally, when the baby and its heart are re-united, the baby dies. The questions spring up…without the heart, was the baby alive? With the heart, is the baby dead? In the manner of all minorities in the US, the “living-challenged” come into the fore and speak up for the rights, and set up the Anti-Funeralist movement, where burial of the dead is considered murder….because the dead also have their rights….

Every member of the cast pulled his or her weight; a real achievement for a group that is obviously still young in theatre. The backstage crew were well on the job, too. The lovely slides and videos by Rahul Prabhu, the music by Anurag Shanker and Thanglian Khup, the sound by Anirudh Kidambi, and the really good costumes by Sandeep, Satyashish, Gaurav and Sridhar (with quick changes by all the cast) all contributed to good production values. The script, according to the brochure, was adopted from the original. It was done, then, with flair.

It can sometimes be disastrous when an Indian cast adopts US accents…but today, the accent didn’t grate on my ear at all. Serena Punch’s “African-American” accent was quite authentic.

Surprisingly, I would have thought Anand Ramprasad, the narrator, a Bengali if I had not known better!

Deepanjan Dey requires particular mention amongst all the talent I saw on stage today. His comic timing is excellent and he is going to be a force to reckon with, hopefully soon.

Dramanon’s brochure was also simple but well-designed. The only lapse was that though each brochure had a little piece of paper asking for the audience member’s email id, they completely overlooked giving their contact details for any feedback that we could give. I do hope they rectify this next time!

All in all, though the group’s youthfulness in theatre is manifest during the production, going and seeing “The Original Last Wish Baby” would be an evening well-spent…so my recommendation is, go for the show tomorrow (4th May 07, 7.30pm, Ranga Shankara.) I only wish there were some way for me to communicate to Dramanon how much I enjoyed their production…and to wish them more success. Dramanon…definitely a group to watch out for..and to watch, tomorrow evening! And if I find that they are staging any other plays in the future, I will be there to watch!

20 Comments so far

  1. Sharanya (unregistered) on May 4th, 2007 @ 10:35 am

    Hi Deepa
    I directed the play ‘The Original Last Wish Baby’ …being a start up group that grapples with mortality every single day, its incredibly reassuring to hear good feedback and whats more, honest and unpretentious feed back at that. Thank you. Its folks like you who make all that we go through worth every mile.

    Dramanon hears you loud and clear and takes a bow.

    Thanks again.

  2. An Opinion (unregistered) on May 4th, 2007 @ 11:51 am

    Hello Deepa.

    Given that everyone is entitled to an OPINION, please allow me to state mine, in being quite contrary to yours with respect to this play.

    The theatre troupe in question needs to learn a lot about true theatre. Yes, for a college show done for the fun of it, it was fine. However, in my opinion, usage of terms like “actor”, “timing”, “character” and “authentic” are quite out of place.

    Done on stage by a bunch of kids for an audience comprising of a bunch of kids, I think Mr. Seebring’s ideas catered conveniently well. But, a spade is a spade and a (semi) rehearsed Mad-Ad session is not “Theatre”.

    To Sharanya I would say, congratulations on putting up a show. (I believe this is a repeat performance). I know how difficult it is to do in Bangalore. For that, kudos to you and your production team!

    Intending no malice or prejudice to anyone, I ask to be permitted my Anonymity.

    Yours truthfully,

  3. Deepa Mohan (unregistered) on May 4th, 2007 @ 1:02 pm

    Dear XXX, I agree that everyone is entitled to hes opinion. But I think you should certainly post your name, and not post an anonymous comment. If we have an opinion, we must stand by it, too.

    I do agree that Dramanon has a long way to go in theatre. But the effort was really good. Believe me, I have seen some really “foul plays” and know how excruciating it can be when lines are forgotten, lights don’t go up or down on cue, or other major foul-ups happen. They didn’t happen yesterday, and that is praiseworthy.

  4. Tara (unregistered) on May 4th, 2007 @ 4:29 pm

    hi deepa…i saw the play for the third time, given that a close friend is in it.

    I’m glad there are reviews being written, good or bad, everyone has an opinion and its nice to have a place to share it.

    With a certain amount of experience, I’d like to comment that while I thought the production has grown with each show, I believe it to be intrinsically flawed. Design wise, it has a few good ideas and the poorest possible execution of them. The actors seemed extremely interested in the audience since they seemed to be sharing in the joke with half smiles and peering out of the corner of their eye every time the audience laughed. Unfortunately, it ceases to be funny when you’re able to see that.

    The rigid exits in each scene might have worked had the actresses kept it up long enough to actually leave stage.

    OLWB’s only highlight for me is Vinoj. Funny and gifted with timing, he works well in his roles. Also, he’s funny because he doesn’t check to see whether people are laughing post joke.

    As desired, my name and blog are left with my comment.

  5. NAREN (unregistered) on May 4th, 2007 @ 6:40 pm

    Thanks 4 bunch of junk Blogs….

    I belive the Post is not related to bangalore. Howcome OLWB is related to Bangalore. The same blogger has posted abt an restaurent(Potluk) in 3 Separate Blogs. There is something fishy. Well How much do u guys charge for Per Post?? I want a Review of Mungaru male. Nope am not Producer or Director of the movie.. But, i like it.. Can any write abt it.

  6. Deepa Mohan (unregistered) on May 4th, 2007 @ 6:50 pm

    Dear Mr Narendra:

    If there is a play at Ranga Shankara, is that not in Bangalore?

    Why do you say there is something “fishy” about what I write?

    I wrote about Potluck twice, not thrice.Please do not exaggerate just for effect.

    I often find that a restaurant is very good the first time one goes, and then the standard comes down very fast. It was a pleasant surprise when this did not happen at Potluck, so I posted about it again.

    When I find something wrong, I post about that, too; see my post about Ranga Shankara, or about Bangalore traffic. But then I am accused of being negative!

    Let me repeat…at Metroblogs, we are all amateur. No one pays us anything for writing. I pay for my tickets at Ranga Shankara, for my food at any restaurant.

    If you disagree with my posts, that’s fine, but they are valid posts to do with Bangalore.

    You may disagree with me, but please preserve the decencies of debate.

  7. Naren (unregistered) on May 4th, 2007 @ 7:21 pm

    Dear Deepa avare,

    I completely disagree. Firstly as per MB Rules stated by one of ur collegue(May be arun), Movies(Play) related to Bangalore will Be Posted.
    Very Recently The Blogger “Famous” was thrown out coz of Reviewing bunch of Movies(Non-Kannada).
    2ndly There will be Dramas daily in Ranga shankara. Why only this Play Hav been Reviewed??
    There are many better Dramas with Popular actors why all those hav not been reviewed??
    Once again u guys are not Reviewing Kannada plays, movies, Books etc. Why cant u guys Review Master Hiranyaiah’s “Lanchavthara”. Kindly watch it for Good Political Entertainment.

    AFAIK there are still 3 Posts related to potluck. The Third 1 is related to Address and other Details. Kindly rechk. And again am sure there are Much good And best Restaurents in bangalore. Which Provides healthy Bangalore Food. Raggi muddhe to Joladha Rotti. Awesome karnataka Flavor. Much Better than Punjabi food of Potluk. So, opn up ur minds.

    Last but not least. Kindly look into the Quality content of the post. Not Quantity. I hav Critisized the same for mr. Rajesh dangi. So, its abt the Post Not the Bloggers. :-)

    Thanks for Understnading.

  8. Suyog (unregistered) on May 5th, 2007 @ 10:31 am

    It has been sometime that I have been observing Naren’s comments. Just one piece of advice to him – do not force down your kannada jingoism down everyone’s throats. I was not born here but have been living here right from the 2nd month of my life. And today, I have embraced the culture of this place to an extent that I decided to spend my entire life with a kannada speaking partner. All through this journey, no one forced me to speak kannada, watch kannada movies, listen to kannada songs, eat the local food and so on..I just developed a natural love for it. And let us keep it that way. Bangalore has people of different cultures and backgrounds all coexisting together that makes the city unique and a more fun place to be in than let us say a Chennai. I always think of Bangalore as a mini India where you get to see and experience so many varied flavours of life. Please let us all try to sustain and in fact enhance that. Let us not bring about a kannada shiv sena out here and since I am from that state I know how really bad it is out there.

    The Blore MB bloggers are doing an excellent job in covering the various happenings in our city without any bias. You just got to have a look at the other Indian city specific MBs to really appreciate their fine work. You are free to suggest topics that they should cover in addition to what they are already doing but do not impose your “frog in the well” perspective on them. I was really saddened when there were demands from you on Dr.Raj’s bday about a writeup on him in an almost childlish and immature manner. Do you really think that just by blogging on him on MB his stature would have been enhanced or degraded ? I fail to understand the motive for using such force. It would be better for all of us to take some guidance from the way in which he conducted himself in his life – full of simplicity and modesty.

    Again, this is not a personal opinion on you but just a reflection on your views. Thanks for your understanding. Also MBloggers, I hope you do not mind speaking out in defence of your work.

  9. Suyog (unregistered) on May 5th, 2007 @ 10:37 am

    Two more points which I missed out on regarding Naren’s comments:

    Comment 1:

    “There will be Dramas daily in Ranga shankara. Why only this Play Hav been Reviewed?? There are many better Dramas with Popular actors why all those hav not been reviewed??”

    Firstly let us try to understand that the MBloggers have their normal lives and jobs to take care of. This is not a full time paid occupation for them to go around and see every single play. I guess we have the newspapers for that. All that they are trying to attempt is to give you a slice of the happenings in our city through some of their personal experiences.

    Comment 2:

    “So, opn up ur minds”

    Really ?!!

  10. Rk (unregistered) on May 5th, 2007 @ 2:13 pm

    Off topic : I read in some news paper over last week that there is going to be a concert of SPB this Sunday (may 6th) evening. I am searching for the news (i did not read that paper at my home), am not getting any info. If any of you know, I request you to kindly let me know.

  11. anita (unregistered) on May 7th, 2007 @ 1:12 pm

    Thanks Suyog, that’s really nice of you to appreciate our efforts. I don’t think a lot of people actually understand that all this is done free, on people’s volunteering basis. Instead of choosing to see the good side, they pick on silly trivial things.

    I must also mention here for Naren and other readers that our efforts have always been on to invite more locals (and people who can write about culture, the city, traditions, music etc.) so we have all kinds of views represented.

    This is an OPEN COLLABORATIVE blog. ANYONE is free to join, of course they need some degree of interest in writing about the city.

    Unfortunately, I haven’t found them. And my job is not to find them either, but I do it because of my own interest. It should work the OTHER WAY around. We need the locals to come up and say, I WANT to be on the team because I have something to contribute!

    I think this is what people fail to understand when they say, “Why don’t you cover this, that and that” and their express their extended wishlist and their displeasure:
    1) we are not journalists, we are enthusiasts writing about the city we live in
    2) we are most eager to have others on board. but there has to be enthusiasm from others to join. and it’s quite a big commitment. which is why you find only a handful who can stick to the commitment.

    And where are these people?! I haven’t found too many of them eager and waiting to join Bangalore Metblogs to give their views on the city despite my numerous attempts! Point out one such person to me, and we’ll invite him/her immediately.

    Naren, maybe instead of sitting on the side and throwing stones, you need to try and appreciate what it takes to produce something like this and take part in it (or something similar) so you get an idea of WHAT it takes.

    Also, the content is not forced down anyone’s throat. Read what’s relevant and move on! Please do not create unnecessary controversies in this collaborative space.

  12. Naren (unregistered) on May 7th, 2007 @ 3:04 pm

    Dear Anitha,

    I Heartfully appreciate your efforts. But your efforts are going invein. I know you guys hav set of rules. But How many of ur Bloggers Know it. The New Bloggers Like famous(Ex) Dont know about Bangalore MB Basic Rules. I am sure there are still many Bloggers who writes Junk Posts with an Pic. Ultimately it will lead to the lose of Readers. U always should welcome the Comments Good or Bad. Some bloggers Doesnt even care to Reply. Its not good sign. As u hav Particularly taken my Name.
    I am considering it. or Time to Bid Alvidha…..

    There are many Good Bloggers Like Msanjay to Bellur Ramki There is an group of Bloggers. There was more than 3000 Posts(Like Discussion Board) on the Popular kannada Soap “Muktha” on msanjays Blog. I dont agree there are no Bloggers in Bangalore. I hope Bangalore MB will hav Good Bloggers.

  13. Naren (unregistered) on May 7th, 2007 @ 3:31 pm

    one of my previous Gunine Comment has been deleted. Its the Answer to Suyog. There was nothing in Person. Just Clear answer. Can the Deleter explain. why it was deleted???

  14. Rajesh (unregistered) on May 7th, 2007 @ 3:50 pm


    Perhaps you should intro-spect the reason why it is deleted? Appriciate you as a reader as you seem to track every post and the pitfalls around it.

    Never-the-less most of the times you go overboard in your allegations ( which is not considered as opinion) so simply put… welcome any comments which are around post content and thought process around the topic which helps positive enforcement of the intent and debate.

    Thanks for reading metblogs!!

  15. Naren (unregistered) on May 7th, 2007 @ 4:24 pm

    Nope Rajesh, Its the Gross Violation. It has Been delated for No reason. Its Just the Reply to Suyog. No Bad Language or Insult was Done. As One section of PPl are Taking Particularly my name, I am considering it.

    Mr. Rajesh if u expect only positive replies. and expect to Appreciate all Junk Posts. I am sure this Blog WIll Die Soon. I hav a Reason to say this and am sure about it. Its time to bid Alvidha…..

  16. SHADOW (unregistered) on May 7th, 2007 @ 5:27 pm

    Biding Alvidha is not the solution, Why dont you take in other way like joining MetBlogs and contribute which you were saying is not considered\contributed by others ?

  17. Naren (unregistered) on May 7th, 2007 @ 6:20 pm

    Thanks Shadow.

    I will be in this world of blogging in near future(Very soon). But as of now, am self obligued to refrain due to Professional reasons. I do enjoy the posts. The fueling of Blogs, The Reactionary comments, ppl coming with their own problems, the lingustic clash(also in CNN-IBN Website). Awesome!!

    The Blogging is new to India. Still in adolescent stage. There are very few Forums for us. In near future the scinario will be Changed. Until then Happy Blogging. Dont take my comments Personally. I cant help it. As u all Know the Gist of my Demand is Kannada. Its not Kannada Only. My Demand is Kannada Also. There is Language, Culture Called Kannada in Bangalore.

    I am very Disappointed for deleting Guinine comment which is the reply to Suyog. If the deleter answers it will be usful for me.

    Thanks for reading,

  18. Naren (unregistered) on May 8th, 2007 @ 6:38 pm

    Its more than 24 hrs I hav posted a Querry abt the deletion of Comment… There is no Response from the deleter?? So, it has been deleted of no reason! U guys expect only Appraisals and u ppl always accuse of Police to Politicians and Auto Drivers to Airways?? Think Twice…. Alvida……!!!!!!!!

  19. ganesh (unregistered) on May 9th, 2007 @ 1:21 pm

    as a random theatre lover, i had gone on a sleepy friday to watch this play called “The original last wish baby” by a new group. the play was well performed and the evening was well spent 4 me. came online after a few days to check the review abt it and see some miss tara taking some personal grudge on the group. as she says one of her friend acted in the play, is it becuse of some mis chemistry on that front? just curious to know, because the language used to criticise is too strong

  20. tara (unregistered) on May 9th, 2007 @ 7:26 pm

    Er, no actually. He’s my partner, we get along well:)

    I merely left my opinion.

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