Caught in a dilemma

The Green Room is all about the inner life of Anamika, a stage actor. The green room serves as a metaphor for what goes on in her mind. Anamika is ambitious, but also somewhat weary of the way her life is going. Among her cohorts are her manager-lover who swears his loyalty to her, and a fan, and an actor to boot, who wants her to be answerable only to her own soul. Anamika argues with both of them unable to understand her own mind. The climax reveals that she neither swims with the tide nor against it, but is caught between the two.

T.K. Srinivas Chari

Shenoy Nagar

The best I've watched

The central character, Anamika idolises Vivien Leigh. The play itself deconstructs this idea of fandom — her boyfriend puts her on a pedestal, while simultaneously misunderstanding her every frustration, whereas “a random fan” seems to really get it. The play was carried by excellent acting, not ‘stage’ acting. It is acting that relies on body language, where every tiny gesture matters. The script was true to life, contemporary and expressed a reality I relate to. The best I’ve watched in a long time!

Pavithra Muthalagan

Chetpet

Our story!

The Green Room isn’t a story of an actor and her larger-than-life ambitions. It is the story of us, our lives and our obsession to ‘live it to its fullest’, often forgetting midway where we’re headed. The script was so snatched from reality that it leant immense depth to each of the characters on stage. The actors spoke to you with complete genuineness giving it a familiar conversational feel. Though the lighting was distracting at times, the overall set and its usage felt natural. This is good theatre, I thoroughly enjoyed the life-like performance.

Divya

Neelankarai

Not fleshed out well

The Green Room’s script by Aditya Sudarsan is fairly arresting and thought-provoking. But director Avjit Dutt and the actors were not able to bring out the core issues or give it the momentum it deserved. In the beginning, the pace was sluggish, and there were delays in actors appearing on the stage. Slowly, it gathered pace, but the actors were not able to have a feel of the characters. The culprit was the protagonist who could not evoke the emotions of an actor of English theatre caught in a dilemma of doing superficial roles rather than wait for a good role. Her wealthy protector-boyfriend is able to get her roles with his influence but that is hardly the route to talent development. The young man who tries to dissuade her from continuing this meaningless pursuit of roles and popularity fails to convince her to go with him to do meaningful theatre. There is enough drama in the theme, but the actors could not lift the play. The Green Room makes you understand that it is not enough to have a good script, it also has to have a capable director to interpret it well.

Vasanthi Sankaranarayanan

Chetpet

Great ideas, but not good enough

The first part of The Green Room is like being stuck at a coffee shop with a rather boring couple going back and forth about their pet peeve; one whines and pouts, the other placates and pleads. The middle part feels like a school play with red lights for special effects, a background score, and a soap-opera-like staging where the lady is being pulled in one direction by her new lover while the other one stands silhouetted and shouts “I don’t love you”, robbing us of a love triangle or some dramatic conflict to sink our teeth into. The third part felt like an audience with the Dalai Lama, except he was a 23-year-old spouting his philosophy of life and love and theatre. Perhaps it was implausibility taken to new heights, or the disconnect caused by too much telling instead of showing (“I’m a simple guy” etc.), or being subject to debate instead of drama that made the audience laugh during what was meant to be the angsty climax when Anamika must choose between artistic integrity and security. With both her men standing in the room and the new guy yelling “ask her if she loves you”, it was rather entertaining; perhaps not in the way the playwright intended it. Aditya Sudarshan has great ideas and may go on to write better plays, but this one seems more like that first attempt at writing a novel or a play that must never see the light of day, or the spotlight of the stage.

Shekinah Jacob

Purusaiwalkam

Captivating content

The Green Room was an engaging and an interesting watch, as it beautifully portrayed the unrelenting attitude of this generation that is always determined to touch the pinnacles of glory, from the perspective of a creative theatre artiste. The female lead Anamika showcased a galaxy of emotions portrayed with a realistic touch. The role of her boyfriend Malik was also equally engaging. Anamika’s so-called first bona fide stalker’s performance was terrific since his role was pivotal. The influence of the Western in today’s young generation, childhood fantasies of love, poetry and cinema and their various philosophies about life was beautifully brought about by brilliant and thought-provoking dialogues. The set design was perfect and elegant, but in some parts, the lighting was a little irksome. Despite its stretched out portions and dearth of humour, it captivates you with its content.

S. Siddharth Samson

Nolambur

Unable to sustain intensity

Although the long periods of silence and inaction at the beginning made one wonder if it was all about the existential question, in the end the audience did not have to contemplate anything more serious than whether the play had actually ended when the clapping began. That is not to say that the play lacked focus. The problem was that the actors were finding it difficult to sustain intensity in a dialogue that frequently vacillated between the brilliant and the banal.

The rather unusual and certainly interesting theme relating to the search of cultural legitimacy of the English language theatre in India could have been better served by a more purposeful and substantial story line than left to hinge almost entirely around the (not inconsiderable) acting capabilities of the female protagonist. It must be said, however, that Yatrik successfully turned the green room into a stage.

Judah S.G. Vincent

Ayanavaram

Over-simplified conflict

Barring a few cheesy lines, The Green Room spoke with some truth about the state of urban, anglicised theatre actors today. But the on-going conflict between serious and popular theatre was over-simplified, with the protagonists becoming stereotypes of the sides they represented. To assume that all (so-called) serious theatre goes in the ‘right direction’ (whatever that is), and that every ‘fun’ play ‘leads nowhere’ is childish. The dilemma of the woman too was obscure — was it artistic, about exploring cultural roots to find her own expression, or was it personal, about choosing between the two men who claim to love her? And why was it portrayed as though a man was imperative to support her career, whether in theatre or Bollywood? As for performance, the cast was barely tolerable. A flashback scene had some interesting lighting.

Vinodhini Vaidynathan

Mandaveli

Marked by silence

It was a play marked by silence, including that of the audience. It was, however, relevant but underscored the general insufficiency of English language theatre in India. The protagonist Anamika played a stellar role, ruing the fact of having to act in Indian adaptations of Western classics. Yet, in the context of the festival, adaptations were far better than this original Indo-Anglican script.

Hema Parthasarathy

Alwarpet

Strong script, credible performances

An engrossing story about the state of current English dramas that largely focus on adapted scripts from famous Western playwrights. These stories deal with characters so alien to us that neither the audience nor the actors identify with it. Backed by a strong script and credible performances, this play set in the green room, perfectly captures the fake Western attitude and romantic dilemmas of the English-educated Indian youth.

Anirudh Rajaseshan

Mylapore

Of dreams and disappointments

The Green Room is a story of dreams and disappointment, hope and hypocrisy — and, ultimately, romance and revulsion.

The protagonist Anamika was brought to life by Kriti Pant’s style. She experiences dissonance in her current state wallowing in the shadows of a constant guardian, Malik. And sullenly watches over the ever-so-real promises of stardom in celluloid kitsch, as if it were impending doom. The characters bring to life at once both the unfathomable depth in an empty soul and the ironical hollowness in a heart brimming with emotions. There are no demi-gods, only humans in all their unfaltering yet unfinished realism. The dialogues are powerfully original.

The young stranger’s obsession with Anamika forces him to deconstruct her to the point she was reluctant to walk. His lucid explanation of the beauty myth and her mental struggles only lowers Anamika's defence mechanisms. Alas, he is unable to quench his ethical urge to explain Anamika’s choice and painful histrionics in the final showdown, a la a Mexican standoff. It is a brilliant scene with the main characters stripped off their costumes, their fears laid thread bare and yet fighting to hide their own emotional wells — wells of rejection, solitude, despair and, ultimately, the truth.

Dileepan Lingaiah

Kotturpuram