Posts Tagged ‘review’

“Bhagwaan Dhoondo” by Yours Truly Theatre

I have been following the fortunes of Yours Truly Theatre (YTT)for a while now, in keeping with my interest in the young theatre groups of this city. Yours Truly has been a pioneer, in Bangalore, in staging Interactive Theatre, where the audience takes on an interactive role in the staging of the play, rather than be passive spectators to a preconceived ending. Now they have several other initiatives, too, such as plays for children, students, and for underprivileged people,

I’ve watched their last play, “Common Man”, but had missed the earlier shows of “Bhagwan Dhoondo”, and so decided that I’d go and see the fourth show, at ADA Ranga Mandira, on the 29th August, 2010.

“Bhagwan Dhoondo” has a loosely structured first half, that introduces characters that are not fully clarified, except in the state of their existence in the city, and in the second half, the compere, Ranji David, takes responses from the audiences and picks one of these characters. Based on the inputs from the audience, the denouement is staged by the cast,.consisting of Abhijit Madhawaraj, Chetan Nataraj, Nandini Rao, Ramya M, Ranji David, Shalini Goel, Sumit Acharya, Sudarshan Ranganath, and Vishal Bhandary.

One thing that struck me immediately was that the visual idiom of YTT has progressed a lot since I last witnessed one of their performances. They had always used colourful props like scarves and umbrellas, but in the present production, several props and red-motifed costumes were in evidence, and abstract concepts such as individuals joining the herd mentality of wanting “more” were expressed tellingly with the aid of one huge covering into which the actors disappeared. Cloth props were also used to great effect; a shroud-like covering was used to highlight characters, and make a statue in the park! I must congratulate Kuheli Mukherjee on her innovativeness with costume design.

The light design by Ranji David, and the light execution by Deepak Trivedi, were both impressive. Situations and characters were highlighted, and the use of smoke on stage truly made a palpable stage aid of the light.


“Elling” by Dramanon at Ranga Shankara

Dramanon is a young Bangalore-based theatre group whose fortunes I have been following for a fair length of time now, and I have been impressed with their commitment to English theatre, given the obstructions that an amateur group has always to face: affordability of theatre space, funding obstacles, and rehearsal difficulties with day jobs to take care of. They like to choose plays, that, in their own words, “have spunk”, and this time, the play in question was Elling, Simon Bent’s adaptation of a cult Norwegian film, which in turn was based on a novel by Ingvar Ambjørnsen.

elling poster 060810

Elling tells the story of two of society’s outsiders who, having been released from a mental institution, have to work out how to adjust to living independently. The title character is a prissy self-declared mummy’s boy, petrified of the world outside; a man fond of hiding in wardrobes when things get too much for him. He dresses oddly, hasa methodical way of speaking and moving, and carries a note book around at all times into which he jots down stories and observations.

His roommate at the institution, and the man he is to share a flat with, is almost his complete opposite. Kjell Bjarne, is a lanky, hairy chap, not fond of washing and preoccupied with sex and women. Yet despite their differences, despite Elling repeatedly referring to Bjarne as an orang-utan, the two men have a real and touching friendship, they depend on one another. The bond that forms between them is touchingly highlighted in the scene where they exchange Christmas presents.

Having been given a place in Oslo to live by the state, they are assigned to a social worker, and warned that if they can’t get on in the outside world they will be sent back to the institution. Perhaps predicatbly, life on the outside proves difficult, and though their initial impulse is to hide away in their flat, with the help of a heavily pregnant woman and an aging poet, they gradually start to reengage with the world.


"Woyzeck"…three further shows at Ranga Shankara March 19,20,21,2009

Georg Büchner’s WOYZECK


Ranga Shankara, March 19, 20 and 21, 2009 at 7.30 pm

Adaptation and Direction: Anmol Vellani

Cast includes: Anish Victor, Ashish Sen, Sunitha M.R., Sachin Gurjale, Abhijeet Shetty, Ashish D’Abreo, Sanjay Iyer, V. Ashok Kumar, Shiva Pathak, Itisha Peerbhoy and Bharat Kumar

(Tickets: Rs 100. For bookings call Anil at 9448279252 or 9845602265)


"Antaryatra" at Ranga Shankara

India Foundation for the Arts today presented “Antaryatra” (“The Journey Within the Self”), directed and performed by Usha Ganguli, at Ranga Shankara.

The play was a self-referential one; Usha has led the theatre group, “Rangakarmee”, for about 25 years now. She spoke of her experiences as an actress (sorry, actor is the pc word to use, but here, the word has a specific gender meaning!)…and of her journey from the very first nervous day at the theatre, through the various roles she has enacted, as well as the many women she had come into contact with…all of which has shaped her life. As she said, “If I had learnt it in a school, I would not have learnt so much, or been moulded so much…”

Usha slipped in and out of the sutradhar’s part, and in and out of the characters of either the women in the plays, or the women in her life, effortlessly. Her mobile face expressed every emotion beautifully; that mobility allowed me to gloss over the couple of occasions when she fluffed her lines (and surely it must be a very difficult task to sustain a monologue for 75 minutes non-stop!).

The dramatization opened with memories of Kolkata…and being a Kolkata-childhood person myself, I empathized perfectly. Her training in classical dance informed her movements on stage, and they were fluid and graceful, and it was a delight to watch her for this reason alone, if not for her emoting!


"Retell" at Ranga Shankara

“Retell”, a series of narrative plays, was performed on June 5 and 6 at Ranga Shankara. The production was by Theatre Nisha, a group from Chennai, and the design and direction was by V Balakrishnan.

Some of the narratives were based on translations of the stories of Satyajit Ray, Gopa Majumdar, and others from the works of Goli Taragi, by Karim Emani and Sara Khalili.


“Bhuto” by Satyajit Ray


Calligraphy Exhibition at Ethos Art Gallery

Having been interested in calligraphy, I decided to visit the Ethos Art Gallery that has come up in Jayanagar, and look at the work of Poosapati Parameshwar Raju, a calligraphic artist from Hyderabad.

Calligraphy has a long association with Islam and is less often practiced in the Hindu idiom. But Parameshwar has done a fine job of it, demonstrating a skilled command over the use of his nibs and pens.

There were several works on display, mostly done in red ink, and they have been chosen from eight series, starting from mythology, with thems such as Ganesh, Shiva, Narasimha, Om and so on.

The vowels of the Devanagari script are also treated in a variety of designs and forms:


Vaikom Muhammmad Basheer Centenary celebrations at Ranga Shankara

It’s always nice to be able to go and attend when a writer whose work you respect has his centenary celebrations!

vaikom mohammed basheer road RS 230408

Perch, a theatre group based in Chennai, came to Ranga Shankara to celebrate a hundred years since the Malayalam writer, Vaikom Muhammad Basheer, was born. Perch has members from various backgrounds, and they are doing a great job of exploring the boundaries of theatre.

sangathi arhinya 230408

There were three parts to the celebrations at Ranga Shankara: the adaption of seven of Basheer’s stories into a play, “Sangathi Arinhya!” by Perch; the Moplah food festival at the Ranga Shankara cafe by Anju Sudarshan; and the collection of photographs (“Images from Kozhikode”) and sketches (by Vasudevan Namboodiri) of Basheer and his world.


Five Point Someone by Evam at Ranga Shankara

The review in two words? …the two words are…..excellent production.

Now for some more words….

At Ranga Shankara, I was in the minority on two counts: one, I was probably the only one not to have seen this production earlier at Chowdiah Memorial Hall…and more importantly, I was, very probably, the only one not to have read the book, “Five Point Someone”, earlier.

I had missed out on reading this book earlier (a slight aversion to “IIT lit”!) and took a considered decision not to read the book before seeing the play, and I think it was a good decision for me. The plot, the characters, the denouement, were all fresh and new to me.

Whatever the genre of the play, Evam produces a well-wrapped package. Sunil Vishnu came up on stage and talked about the play, mentioning that Evam had been around for four years, 14 plays, and this was the 200th performance by them. He stressed that the 50th, 150th, and now the 200th performance were all at their favourite theatre space, Ranga Shankara.

sunil of evam introducing five point someone 120408


Mouse and Positions #2 at Ranga Shankara

The First City Theatre Foundation, a Delhi-based group, is staging “Mouse” and “Positions #2” at Ranga Shankara today and tomorrow, the 5th of April, 2008, at 7.30pm.

mouse and positions #2 rs 040308

(Publicity Design, Yashas Chandra)

Today’s show made it immediately apparent that we had a director, playwright (Neel Chaudhuri) and cast which are a force to reckon with.


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