Vaishali Bisht Theatre Workshop at Ranga Shankara

Vaishali Bisht, and her Theatre Workshop from Hyderabad, came to Ranga Shankara last week. to put up a small series of skits followed by a play of 50 minutes.

It was immediately obvious that we, as the audience, were in for a very good time indeed. Let me list the women actors (it is not politically correct, any more, to call them actresses, I believe!), the order of their appearance:

Minakshi Gupta
Madhu Swaminathan
Smriti Thapa
Vaishali Bisht
Sheila Naidu
Pooja Dattani
Aiswharya Dattani

There were also two male actors, Anuj Gurwara and Faraz Khan.

Here’s the cast and some of the crew:

cast of vaishali bisht theatre workshop 180308 RS

The stage presence of these artistes was pretty palpable, and it was obvious that they were totally in command of the performances. The first few tableaus, “Waiting for Mr Right”, “Tit for Tat”, “One”, “Man of my Dreams”, and “An Affair to Remember”, each had an O.Henry-esque twist in the tail (apologies to another Jeffrey Archer for that phrase, too!) and the mobility of the women’s faces, and the complete ease with which they got the attention and the sympathy of the audience, was highly commendable.

Also highly commendable were the themes chosen. Though the audience often does come prepared to face tough questions and burning issues, it is definitely easier on them to have these questions popped at them, not as burning grenades, but as little bouquets which they could mull on later. The suggestion of lesbianism, of incest, is just left as a finishing touch, and it is left to the audience to interpret these touches the way they want…or to leave them and go ahead to the next piece.

tableaux RS vaishali bisht theatre workshop 180308

(A scene from the first tableau, “Waiting For Mr Right”)

The play, “Write, rite, and Right”, written and directed by Vaishali Bisht, was a resounding success. The dialogues were completely natural and a humourous thread of self-reference ran through it (as when the mother, Sheila Naidu, says, ” as a mother, whom even this bloody playwright has not given a name to!”). The three personalities…ego, superego, and id, of the writer, Prerna.Sharmila and Jagriti; the male influence in her life, Chetan; Vikas, played by Anuj, and the artist, (Minakshi) and the child form of Prerna herself, played by Aishwarya)…all of them were word perfect with their dialogue.

Special mention must be made of the easy flow with which Aishwarya Dattani delivered her lines. I wanted to ask if Pooja and Aishwarya were related to another Dattani who is well known in theatre circles…but when I tried after the show, I was told that “the audience cannot come backstage” and so I left. Pooja’s budding sexuality was also beautifully brought out in the tableau, “Man of my Dreams.”

Another aspect was the excellent choreography and movements on the stage. When the other personalities literally swirl Prerna about, she twirls between their touches. This part and the movements of Aishwarya, were extremely well choreographed.

Here’s Aishwarya Dattani, perfect with her dialogue delivery:

aishwarya dattani vaishali bisht theatre workshop RS 180308

A really excellent brochure was printed and eveyone’s names clearly spelt out (except for the person handling the lights, who was very good too!) Apart from this, each member of the cast was introduced by Anuj, so that they could take their bows and acknowledge the applause from the audience. The stage management by Deepthi Pendurty, and the costume design by Smriti Thapa (contemporary, stylish clothes) also deserve mention. Faraz’s handling of the sound could have done with a little muting at times, but was good enough for all that.

Of course, the direction by Vaishali Bisht (It is tough to both act and direct at once!) and the production management by Minakshi Gupta were of a high order too.

The confidence level of these women, and the immense mobility of expression on their faces, added immensely to the appeal of the play. It was a very thorough and well-done job, and the audience felt unanimously (I asked around after the performance!) that they had got very good value for money!

Vaishali Bisht’s Theatre Workshop is giving another performance on the 27th of March…I strongly recommend it to theatre-goers!

As Flickr does not seem to be working, I am unable to upload the photos I had taken yesterday; I will add them later when Flickr decides to co-operate!

Vaishali Bisht’s Theatre Workshop, Hyderabad

040 2341 1862

2 Comments so far

  1. bishtv on March 21st, 2008 @ 10:59 pm

    Hi Deepa, thank you for the great review of our plays! We’re really happy with the audience response in Bangalore and are looking forward to performing there again soon (At the Fortune Katriya, Whitefields on March 27th, 2008). I just wanted to let you know that there is a slight error regarding sound operation. The sound for the shows was designed by Faraz Khan but since he was acting as ‘Chetan’ in the play, the sound operation was executed by Harish during the performance that you saw. Also just to let you know that the lights were operated by Kishore Acharya (a Bangalorean) and by the time we knew that he was free to come on board, the brochure had already been printed!! Please let me know if you’d like to meet up when we’re in Bangalore next week. Thanks again, Vaishali Bisht

  2. bishtv on March 23rd, 2008 @ 1:45 am

    Hi again Deepa, I made a mistake in my first comment–our performance on the 27th is at the Fortune Park Hotel in Whitefields, Bangalore! Hope to see you there, Vaishali Bisht

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