Sifar's 'Sense' was an ambitious one-man show

One-man shows always seem to be a bit of a risk. Sustaining audience interest during a normal play is one thing, but settling the burden of that onto just one person's shoulders is even more daunting. Theatre group Sifar decided to give it a go in their production Sense, recently staged as a part of the Hyderabad Theatre & Short-Film Festival.

Written by Bhavani, Sense was an abstract monologue in Hindi and English presented by Feroze, telling the story of an artist's life, his struggle to understand who he is, the thread of how he finds inspiration and his questioning of himself. The set was minimalistic enough to set the mood: a rickety wooden structure, an easel with its back facing the audience, a tyre suspended from the ceiling with a rope, and Feroze himself in trademark monkey cap and paint-smeared cargos and t-shirt.

It's difficult to analyse the structure of Sense. It seemed to be constructed from random musings and ramblings of the artist on his childhood, his strict Major father, his teachers at school and university, the neighbourhood milkman. These reminiscences would then take a philosophical bent which, at certain points, came across as unfortunately trite.

Despite certain shortcomings, the play pushed its way through thanks to Feroze's sheer talent. Whether he's acting like a petulant child, a frenzied artist on the edge of despair, or simply describing the squishy delight of a Black Forest pastry, he kept the tempo going and carried the audience with him. Humour, pathos and philosophy shared space as he vaulted across the stage.

The music intensified the drama: one ominous thrum cutting across the silence, acoustic guitar, or the beautiful Hindustani to set the mood. It isn't easy to write and stage a show that revolves around one man's talent, but Sifar did their best.

Keywords: monologue Sense