"Art" by Evam at Ranga Shankara

With their production of “Art”, Evam, the theatre group from Chennai whom many Bangaloreans have learnt to think of as their own, proved conclusively that they possess tremendous talent.

“Art” is described in their brochure as “serious comedy”. Marc, Yvan and Serge are three friends; Serge buys a work of art… a painting of white stripes and a white diagonal on a white background. This disturbs Marc profoundly, and he is unable to even stomach the thought of Serge wanting to buy it, or the fact of Yvan’s liking it.

Slowly, as their conversations about the paintings develop, layers of thoughts and opinions, and revelations, begin to appear. The serious and the comic march side by side as the plot unfolds

A comedy that makes people think is a fairly tough subject to tackle. And yet, simultaneously, with its pithy dialogue, it is one of the most rewarding in respect of immediate audience response. A line like ” ‘Calm down’ is the last thing you should say to someone who doesn’t want to calm down!” brought instant applause.

This was one of the first plays that Evam has done, and today’s show proved that they do justice to the script. Karthik, Jimmy, and Sunil Vishnu as Marc,Serge, and Yvan, respectively, gave of their best; but it was Sunil’s show all the way; twice or thrice, he drew spontaneous applause from the audience. Sunil has the gift of just ‘looking’ funny..he just has to come on stage with that endearingly goofy look and the audience starts smiling immediately!

There was an addition to the cast in the form of a young man who plays an air violin or conducts the music track, while set properties were being changed and moved. I am not sure if this interpolation added value to the play or not; but certainly it covered up the gaps between scenes.

I must say, though, that Karthik did fumble his lines once or twice, and that is very unusual for him. Perhaps he was tired as it was the 8th show in 6 days!

One of Evam’s strengths is their use of the internet; theatregoers can easily book tickets online and the volunteers collect email ids from the audience, encouraging them to keep in touch. I think this goes a long way in ensuring that the house always remains full. This evening, three of the members of the audiences won special prizes from Evam.

The supporting cast members did their job efficiently and quickly, too, and stage management was quick. Unfortunately, Sunil did not introduce the cast/crew members, so I don’t know who did what backstage, but the effect was homogenous and good. The music started with the Evam signature “Always look on the bright side of life”, and moved past “Fur Elise” as a prologue.

The treatment of the play had the audience clapping them to the echo; there is obviously a stong “Pro)Evam” lobby in this ciy.

Good job, Evam, and it would be nice to see Evam doing more of these kind of plays instead of the ubiquitous laugh-a-minute comedies.

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