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Updated: October 23, 2013 20:42 IST

Communication breakdown

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Talking without speaking Tom Alter, Dipika Roy and Shivani Tibrewala
Talking without speaking Tom Alter, Dipika Roy and Shivani Tibrewala

Whatever You Say, written and directed by Shivani Tibrewala, is a surreal play with a little bit of magic, poetry and shades of metamorphosis

Whatever You Say, written and directed by Shivani Tibrewala, revolves around a couple, X and Y. They discover one day that they have little left to say to each other. Z enters their lives even as they are trying to understand the meaning of their futile existence. Z has actually been around for long and is the “omnipresent thought collector” who collects thoughts that nobody wants. One day Z develops a burn out and begins to set thoughts free. The line between what is said and what is left unsaid, blurs. X and Y while feeding pigeons find they have turned into pigeons too.

The inimitable Tom Alter performs Whatever You Say with Dipika Roy and Shivani Tibrewala. “Whatever You Say is a surreal play with a touch of magic, shades of metamorphosis and a little bit of poetry,” says Shivani over an email. How much is literal, how much is allegorical is quite subjective. As dreams, fantasy and reality blend and run into each other, and X and Y embark on a journey wherein they rediscover communication, their relationship and each other, them turning into pigeons could be perhaps interpreted as a whimsical symbolic gesture of deeper change, a shift - in relationship dynamic, in communication, in understanding.”

Shivani chose to name the characters X, Y and Z because “the play started out as a battle between the X chromosome, the Y chromosome, and then Z seemed a naturally ambiguous progression from there.” Shivani, a theatre personality based in Mumbai, speaks of her inspiration to write the play. “My unflagging search for honesty, sincerity and depth in relationships - a public relations job that made me see the difference between the person and the persona - and mild insanity.”

Speaking further about the play, Shivani says “You can’t win no matter what you say. So you may as well enjoy the ride while it lasts. This ride, as in this play, has lasted a long, long time. It has been running for 11 years. The best compliment I ever received was when a young lady once sent me an email after a show saying that she and her boyfriend had been on the verge of splitting up and this play was to be their last date. After watching the play, they had decided to give it another go. I didn't know I had it in me to play Cupid.”

Whatever You Say, a No License Yet production, a performing arts company founded by Shivani, is being staged at Jagriti Theatre till October 27. The play will be staged at 8 p.m. on all days except Sunday, when shows are at 3 p.m. and 6.30 p.m. Tickets are available on and at the venue. Call 41242879.

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