The Company Theatre (Mumbai)

August 5, 7.30 p.m.

Venue: Kerala Fine Arts Hall

Summer vacations with grandparents. School-yard scuffles. That magical first date. Father's visit to boarding school. Eating mangoes and 15-paisa churan. Memories, memories, so many memories.

‘The Blue Mug' explores the very concept of these memories and others, of how we remember them or lie about them, and how we use them to construct a sense of who we are.

Featuring an all-star cast including Vinay Pathak, Ranvir Shorey, Rajat Kapoor, Sheeba Chadha, Munish Bhardwaj, Shipra Singh and Noor, the play has a free-flowing narrative form, with the characters engaging the audience directly as they talk about their personal memories in a series of monologues. Laugh-out-loud funny, heartbreaking and touching by turns, the play blurs the line between the real and the fabricated, with most of the actors playing themselves on stage.

Based loosely on the bestselling book ‘The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat' by neurologist Oliver Sacks (a series of fascinating, unusual case histories of his patients), ‘The Blue Mug' is a devised performance, put together by the entire team with no single scriptwriter.

Directed by Atul Kumar of the 15-year-old Mumbai-based The Company Theatre, the play is experimental theatre at its most engaging, anchored by the strong performances of its charismatic cast. The sets, props and music are minimalist; the emphasis is entirely on the deeply personal, emotional stories of each of the characters, pieced together from the memories they share of their childhood, adolescence and adult life.

‘The Blue Mug' comes to The Hindu MetroPlus Theatre Fest after a hugely successful run across the U.S., Europe and Singapore. So come and take a walk down memory lane with the cast; you're guaranteed to go home with something to think about.

Director's Cut: Atul Kumar

1. ‘The Blue Mug' is constructed around a free-flowing narrative of memory. How much of it is scripted, and how much is improvised?

None of it is scripted, actually, so we don't have anything on paper. However, the repetition of the show has given some consistency of lines and structure. Having said that, the actors improvise a little bit in each show, so it's different every time in the tiniest of details.

2. The play has travelled across the U.S., Europe, and Singapore to considerable acclaim. In your opinion, what is it about this piece of theatre that has appealed to disparate audiences from across the world?

I will be very upfront about it – most of our international shows materialised simply because the actors of ‘The Blue Mug' are now household names due to their cinema appearances. However, it gives us the chance to take this play, which is extremely personal and close to each of them, to disparate audiences. The play is funny and yet very emotional; I think that is what we want, and that's what audiences connect to.

3. How important do you think having such a strong star cast has been in the creation of the final product?

When we created this show many years ago, none of these actors were stars of any kind. However, they are strong actors, on a roll always, creating, improvising, giving ideas, and very disciplined when it comes down to it, which is what helped me create this piece. Their becoming known film faces happened on the way, which only worked in our favour. The play is about truthful memories, so that did not change in spite of their newly found recognition amongst audiences.

For tickets

Priced at Rs. 300, Rs.200 and Rs 100, students can get it for Rs 50. Season passes are priced at Rs 750 and Rs.450. Buy it online at The Hindu website and www.indianstage.in.In the city, you can buy it from Coffee Beanz outlets at Panampilly Nagar and Marine Drive. In The Hindu office at Vytilla, tickets will be available between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. only.

Sponsors

The Title Sponsor of the event is Bose. Associate Sponsors are Hirco, Mahindra Holidays & Resorts Pvt Ltd, and Hair O Max. The Hospitality Sponsor is The GateWay Hotels, Marine Drive, Ernakulam. The Mall Partner is Oberon Mall, Edapally.

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