The Hindu MetroPlus Theatre Fest this year travels to three other cities – Hyderabad, Coimbatore and Bangalore.

Be prepared to be drawn into a world of nostalgia, satire, friendship, conflict and drama. The Hindu Metroplus Theatre Festival, launched in 2005 in Chennai, is considered one of India's most well-known festivals. This year the Festival brings four outstanding plays to your city—“Harlesden High Street”, “The President is coming”, “Swami and Friends” and “One on One”—from December 2 to December 5.

The Festival opens with the winner of the 2008 MetroPlus Playwright Award—“Harlesden High Street” (December 2), which will be performed by Indian Ensemble, Bangalore. The play powerfully explores issues of immigration and identity. Written by Abhishek Majumdar and directed by Neel Chaudhuri, incidentally another MetroPlus playwright awardee, “Harlesden High Street” is set on the High Street in Harlesden, inhabited mostly by immigrant communities—Jamaicans, Poles and Pakistanis. The street is notorious for its high crime rate but also has latent within it the aspirations and frustrations of the middle class. The play depicts these various issues through the stories and voices of three Pakistani immigrants—Rehaan, Karim and Ammi—during the course of a day.

Next up is Q Theatre Production's “The President is coming” (December 3). Written by Anuvab Pal and directed by Kunaal Roy Kapur, “The President is coming” is a mix of political satire and farce that deals with issues relevant to contemporary India. Six achievers under 30 are selected and subjected to a series of tests ranging from trivia to situational acting. They will stop at nothing to outdo each other for the award of shaking hands with the President of the United States of America. “The President is coming” was first staged in 2006 as part of the Writers' Bloc Festival in Mumbai and has since been adapted into a film besides having many successful runs and re-runs.

The next production that will be presented is “Swami and Friends” (December 4), which is an adaptation of one of R.K. Narayan's well-known novels of the same name by Manasi Subramaniam. Directed by Aruna Ganesh Ram and staged by the Madras Players, “Swami and Friends” is set against Malgudi, a fictional place, and depicts the escapades of a young boy Swami and his two friends, Rajam and Mani.

The Festival concludes with the staging of “One on One” by the Mumbai-based theatre group Rage Productions. “One on One” is a collection of hilarious and extremely perceptive short plays and has been directed by six of Mumbai's best-known actors and directors. The play has been well-received for its sharp commentary on the socio-political affairs of the country.

Tickets are priced at Rs. 500, 300 and 200. Season passes are available for Rs. 1,500 and Rs. 900. Student passes are available for Rs. 100 (entry into the auditorium with the ticket is only permitted on producing a valid student photo ID card). Tickets can be purchased online at www.thehindu.com/theatrefest and www.indianstage.in. Tickets are also available at Landmark in Koramangala and Jayanagar, Blossoms (Church Street) and J.P. Nagar and the Hindu office, Infantry Road. All the shows start at 7:30 p.m. at Jnana Jyothi Convention Centre, Central College Campus, Bangalore.

The title sponsor of the Festival is Bose while the associate sponsors are Nippon Paint and Club Mahindra, besides, Lavazaa-Beverage Partner and Evam-Event Manager.

SCHEDULE:

DATE GROUP & PLAY

December 2 ‘Harlesden High Street’ by Indian Ensemble (Bangalore)

December 3 ‘The President is Coming’ by Q Theatre Productions (Mumbai)

December 4 ‘Swami and Friends’ by The Madras Players And Landing Stage (Chennai)

December 5 ‘One on One’ by Rage Productions (Mumbai)

Keywords: MPTF 2010