‘Ms. Meena', to be staged at the The Hindu MetroPlus Theatre Fest 2010, incorporates elements of Indian cinema, live music and dialogue

The Goethe-Institut, Pro Helvetia (the Swiss Arts Council) and The Hindu come together to present a quirky, multi-lingual desi adaptation of a classic Swiss German play at The Hindu MetroPlus Theatre Fest 2010.

‘Ms. Meena', directed by Chennai-based Rajiv Krishnan, is a re-imagining of Swiss dramatist Friedrich Dürrenmatt's tragicomedy ‘The Visit' (1956), incorporating elements of Indian cinema, live music and dialogue that is largely in English with a smattering of Tamil, Kannada, Hindi and more.

“A play such as ‘The Visit' is a classic because it is universal in appeal, and the universality lends itself to adaptation,” says Rajiv. “This is a play I've been interested in for a long time.”

His unusual take on the play piqued the interest of others as well — particularly the folks at The Goethe-Institut, Chennai, and Pro Helvetia, New Delhi.

“The idea of taking the 40-year-old play and placing it in our current world of cinema was very attractive to me,” says Karl Pechatscheck, director of the Goethe Institut, Chennai.

As a result, the first session of rehearsals for the play, featuring a cast of nine actors from Chennai and Bengaluru, took place on The Goethe-Institut's Chennai premises. “The work on our auditorium was delayed but the half-finished space ended up being just right for them,” says Pechatscheck with a smile.

From there, it was on to Spaces on Elliot's Beach Road and now to L.V. Prasad Studios for the next two sessions of their packed 50-day schedule. They continue to hone the script and performances in time for the Theatre Fest.

“I'm very happy to be involved in an experiment of this sort; I'm looking forward to seeing it at the fest,” says Chandrika Grover Ralleigh, head of Pro Helvetia, New Delhi. “This is a first for us, but the treatment was so interesting that we couldn't but help be involved.”