The Green Room is not just a knotty love affair. It also deals with the struggle of English-educated artists in the country for cultural legitimacy
The Green Room
Performed by: Yatrik, New Delhi
Date: August 17
Venue: Sir Mutha Venkatasubba Rao Concert Hall, Chetpet
Meet Anamika. She’s beautiful, young, talented. And unhappy. Another successful performance has ended. Another standing ovation. Another party. Yet, she’s dissatisfied. Malik, her eager-to-please boyfriend-manager cannot understand why.
Aditya Sudarshan’s The Green Room deals with the predicament of English-educated Indian artists in this country. Actors, directors and playwrights weaned on the Brontes and Browning, graduating from colleges boasting theatre clubs proficient in Moliere, Ibsen and Tennessee Williams. Steeped in inspiration that comes from the West, but living lives rooted in India and unsure how to define themselves.
The play talks of how it’s important to have a “cultural foundation to build on, an emotional well to draw from.” After all, as a character states, “If you want to be an actor — a good actor — you have to be immersed in a world that's real, you have to have something to express.” The real India, as they say, is “not all pubs and Cafe Coffee Days.” Yet, why can’t a ‘desi Sex and the City’ be relevant? “Sex in South Ex! It's a celebration of the new urban Indian girl — she smokes, she drinks, she parties — she wants all the same things as you!” After all, “we have to express ourselves too, don't we? Our yuppie, privileged, Anglicised selves... they too must have their say...”
Aditya Sudarshan won the MetroPlus Playwright Award 2011 for this intuitive contemporary script. Performed by Yatrik from Delhi, its story explores the never-ending struggle for cultural legitimacy.
Director Avijit Dutt says the “play is done as a naturalistic rendition. Rather than making it a clarion call for the language issue, we have focussed on the human quotient bringing the script alive as a crackling piece which looks at creative satisfaction and achievement and, of course, the love triangle!” Dive into this knotty affair, featuring a dissatisfied actress, her perplexed manager-boyfriend and a stranger from the audience who understands her because he loves her.
Director’s Cut — Avijit Dutt
The Green Room is centred around English-educated Indian artists. Do you identify with their struggle for cultural legitimacy, and does that empathy make this story easier to tell?
Yes, I've had the advantage of this myth of ‘privileged'. This empathy does make it simpler to tell the story as my own mindscape.
This is the premiere of The Green Room. What are the advantages, and challenges, associated with being the first to translate a script to the stage?
Great advantage in being able to interpret it as a first-timer. Defining the space and time without any pastness makes it that much fresher to attempt.
How relevant is The Green Room in today’s contemporary Indian English theatre scenario?
Extremely. Not just in the context of the English Theatre scenario, but in the entire cultural mix. The Brahminical usage of Hindi too has given way to a more colloquial language that liberally borrows from the English usage in the country. Consider the Gunmaker in Gangs of Wasseypur, “fatke filower ban jayega!”