Friday Review » Theatre

Updated: February 7, 2014 19:14 IST

In step, always

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EVERGREEN THEME Human relationships form the core of the play
EVERGREEN THEME Human relationships form the core of the play

Dance Like A Man, India’s longest-running English play, directed by Lillete Dubey, will be staged at Ranga Shankara this weekend

Dance Like A Man, written by Mahesh Dattani and directed by Lillete Dubey, is India’s longest running English play. Performed in India and the world over, Dance Like A Man has resonated with audiences in New Zealand, Kuala Lumpur and Brussels, and continues to draw audiences with every show.

“Each person can relate to the play. It was an unusual play for it to be successful. It’s very Indian, and not in the contemporary sense. The play is set in the world of dance, of Bharatnatya. It takes you into an exotic and different world, and from there the relationships play out. We will be celebrating 500 shows in March.”

Dance Like A Man revolves around the lives of the husband-wife duo Jairaj and Ratna, two Bharatnatya dancers past their prime.

Their daughter Lata, who is on the brink of establishing herself as a brilliant dancer, creates tension and jealousy, drawing the audience into the dark secrets of family relationships and conflicts between generations. Even though the concerns of the play are serious and probes the characters’ deeper motivations, the mode is comic rather than tragic.

The play essentially is about relationships. “People have asked me, ‘why don’t you show more dance’? I believe you can take whatever theme you want, but ultimately you have to look at the human aspect. Within the play emotions such as jealousies, passions and drama have been explored."

" The play takes a closer look at the mother-daughter and husband-wife relationships. The mother loves her daughter, but at some level, she also resents her because she realises that she is over-the-hill and her daughter is poised towards becoming a very successful dancer. There are complications between husband and wife, because the wife is more talented than the husband.”

Lillete adds that the play addresses other larger social issues.

“It explores gender, about the implication if you like to dance, you are not a man. Socialism, the Devdasi tradition — all of these are included in the play too.”

Dance Like A Man will be staged today and tomorrow at 3.30 pm and 6.30 pm at Ranga Shankara. The cast members include Vijay Crishna, Joy Sengupta, Suchitra Pillai and Lillete Dubey.

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