"The Final Rehearsal"….excellent

I went today to watch “The Final Rehearsal” by ACTor Productions, Bangalore , and came away very impressed with a theatre group that seems to have got its…er…act together, with a very talented team, led by Pawan Kumar.

The play is all about competition, winning and losing….acceptance and rejection. An actor describes his experiences, working his way up the ladder (from playing a tree in Macbeth, where he artistically sways to and fro) to finally getting the part of Mark Antony in Julius Caesar, only to lose it because when he trips over Browniel (more about this character later) he drops the actor playing Caesar…and that’s the director’s son!

The dialogue was very well-written, with that touch for the everyday phrase that is so natural when spoken. But Pawan did hurry up the diction a little, and I hope he slows it down for his next show. However, his grasp of (at least the well-known lines of) Shakespeare helped him a lot with his excellent comic timing; the spoof speech on “to act or not to act” brought the house down! And in the one or two places that Pawan did fluff the dialogue a bit, it was as if it was the Actor that was doing it; it didn’t seem out of place.

As the actor faces multiple rejections in each of the reality shows or the productions that he compromises his principles to act in, he breaks down….

One of the most impressive facets of the show was Pawan’s use of props. A chair, Browniel (I hope I have the spelling right!) Funich (“derived from Furniture”) the folding chair, is a character by himself. The Actor has a love-hate relationship with Browniel, and the sequence where the chair and he have an altercation was a great piece of theatre-gymnastics!

Also, I would not have believed earlier that one sheet of white cloth can become: the foliage of a tree,Othello’s cape, Macbeth’s witch’s robes, a soldier’s armour, Banquo’s ghost, Caesar’s shroud, the dead Caesar himself, a trumpet, an actor’s microphone, a plain bed sheet, Gandhi’s spinning mat, a ragpicker’s backpack, and the defendant’s enclosure in a court….truly innovative! Are you not intrigued about how this can be done? Pawan is certainly well-versed in stagecraft and mime.

Light, too, was used as a prop, with telling effect. The two shadows cast by the actor represent his real and actor selves; a rectangle of light becomes a door through which the actor seeks escape. I must compliment Arun Murthy on the lighting, and Pawan on integrating such deceptively simple props into the play.

The sound system and the music were also very evocative, right from the time when the audience walked into the theatre to find the Actor lying face-down midstage, to the various moods that were evoked during the play. Kishan, take a bow for the sound execution.

I must also mention the very good brochure that ACTor distributed, which gave an intro to both the plays they are putting up at Ranga Shankara,and also gave info about the other activities of the group, including the theatre and film-making workshops that are coming up shortly. The crew members, Rabi, Priya, Tejaswini, Bhamini (who was very warm and forthcoming when I contacted ACTor, and took trouble to ensure that I met Pawan after the show, too), Prakash, Shivam, and Vikram….I think you are doing a good job and work well as a team. It showed in the production. I am, of course, yet to meet the other actors, when I see “The Woman in Me”, so I can’t talk about them..yet!

“The Final Rehearsal” is being staged tomorrow, 16 July 2008, at 7.30 pm at Ranga Shankara….and I strongly recommend it to theatregoers.

ACTor Productions

744, 14th Cross, J P Nagar 1st Phase, Bangalore 560078

Pawan: 99640 33115, Rabi 98865 39405, for telebooking, contact Bhamini on the latter number.


I am looking forward to watching “The Woman in Me”…. I did wish that they could have put up this production at the weekend, when certainly the gate receipts would have been far better. A workday evening in this rushed city is not conducive to theatre, however good it may be!

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