Vinod Ravindran’s Somewhat Like A Balloon played out like a film with some brilliant performances and wonderful use of props

Bangalore’s theatre community has produced some of the best playwrights, directors and actors in the country. Vinod Ravindran and his team who devised and performed Somewhat Like A Balloon shows immense promise to be included in the list. Swetanshu Bora, Anjali Nair, Rency Philip, Anshul Pathak, Sachin Gurjale, Bharavi and Ashiqa Salvan with a single production of Somewhat Like A Balloon, performed recently at Rangashankara have taken the city’s theatre standard to a whole new level.

The opening scene of the play unfolds like a silent movie. There are no dialogues, only fast-paced actions. A couple wakes up every day to perform repetitive tasks. Their lives are briefly interrupted by the birth of their son. They soon resume the regular pattern of their daily lives. Until one day, the father looks out of the window of his isolated home and something happens. He sees the light. He feels the prick of deep awakening. And he is gone…

Vinod Ravindran’s Somewhat Like A Balloon would make you want to set off on a journey of your own beyond this materialistic world. The play takes you through mountains, rivers and even the sky. The magic is a part of our mundane lives. It’s in the interactions with friends and family. It’s in the natural world that we have walled ourselves away from.

After the father disappears, the son, raised by his mum, grows up to look at his father’s painting that graces the walls of his home. He wonders where “the about-this-tall, 30-year-old with brown eyes just like his” father is. And so leaves home in search of him. During his quest, he encounters three eccentric, haughty explorers, a very, very huge and lazy policeman and a gecko who becomes his best friend.

It’s in the small moments that one sees flashes of brilliance. Be it the hilarious interaction among the explorers or the laugh-out-loud fight between an elderly couple or the very funny wooing between a couple in a park or the bizarre friendship between the boy and a gecko. What will set your heart racing and make you break out in goosebumps, though, is when you see the boy floating in the sky with balloons.

Powerhouse performances by Swetanshu Bora, Anjali Nair, Anshul Pathak and Rency Philip add to the sparkling script. The individual acting styles of each of the actors have been honed with dexterity by the director. Particularly endearing was how the actors engaged the audience and made them a part of the production, even as they had a great chemistry going among them.

The music by Ashiqa Salvan was enchanting. It meandered through the narrative and enhanced the various scenes. Somewhat Like A Balloon has all the ingredients of a competent theatre production. I tried to pinpoint one aspect of the play that was outstanding. I couldn’t. The production was flawless. If you really want to know what it is about Somewhat… that touches the heart, well all I can say is that words aren’t enough to describe that magic. It is something you have to see for yourself.