Life and memories
Shipra says during the course of The Blue Mug: “Life without memories is nothing at all”. If Blue Mug were to have a tagline, this could be it. On one hand you have Rajat, Sheeba, Vinay and Munish treating you to flashbacks of their respective lives; on the other, Shipra and Ranvir playing out the story of a person with memory stuck in 1983. The script is simplicity itself, there is nothing you might not have encountered yourself. This connecting factor endears the play to you, or maybe the presentation, the surreal picture painted on stage with one person talking under a spotlight while the others do random stuff in the backdrop. I won’t pretend to have understood all the abstract elements though. Lovely acting – highlight being Vinay and Sheeba. Excellent choice of music; the Hemant-da song, the retro jazz piece. Kudos to The Hindu for bringing this initiative to Kerala.
Vipin S Nair, Elamakkara, Kochi
Memories make up a person and ‘The Blue Mug' sure drove that point home!
The play never had a dull moment as it progressed though the memories of each of its characters.
The fact that all the ‘memories' (excluding that of a character suffering from memory loss) were true, added to the intensity and liveliness of the performance.
The myriad memories made us laugh, gave us something to ponder over and at times moved us.
‘The Blue Mug', for me, would be a memory to cherish.
Funny, yet profound; mirth tingled with melancholy. Awesome!
The inaugural edition of the MetroPlus Theatre Fest in Kochi had a fantastic opening in ‘The Blue Mug'. The 90-minute play showcased some of the finest talents of Indian theatre. The play, with its unconventional and never- before-seen format, was mostly filled with solo performances of the cast literally living out their most cherished memories on stage. Sans any costumes or props, the actors flowed in and out so effortlessly, enacting themselves at different stages of their life. My personal favourite was Vinay Pathak whose body language was nothing less than pure magic. In toto, the play would easily find a place in my most cherished memories.
Panampilly Nagar, Kochi
Anecdotes from the past strung together and narrated in a very informal each artiste regales you with memories of childhood, summer with grandparents, ‘becoming man' college days, first brush with love, which gives us a sense of déjà-vu. Though there were moments that tickled your funny bone (like denying outrightly to your mother that you were not smoking even when smoke was coming out of your mouth), some of the jokes went overhead (because of the Hindi). Amidst all this, the message was sent loud and clear - “If you lose your eye or limb, you are aware of the loss. But what if we lose ourselves (our memory), there is no one to register that loss.” The USP of the play was the casual yet powerful performances of the artistes. The standing ovation was testimony to its reception by city theatre enthusiasts.
As the protagonists travel back and forth in their memories, reminiscing a plethora of emotions, the viewers are also transported to their own share of memories of growing up, happiness, grief and loss. The ‘Blue Mug' destructs both the time factor of memories and the way they are tweaked to suit our fancies.
The dexterously enacted Chaplinesque scene of a childhood memory made one long for more.
Eric Eldho Paul
The cast of the play blew our minds away with their performances. There were moments in the play when the audience found themselves lost in their own childhood days. In 90 minutes, the play took us on a roller-coaster ride of emotions. We laughed at the silly but naive memories of joint families, summer holidays, old grand parents, weird uncles, first kiss... and we also felt pain in our heart as we remembered memories of losing our close ones, loneliness of boarding school and the times when we were not there for our loved ones. The neurologist and the patient suffering from memory loss take the play to a completely new level.
Jawahar Road, Kochi
This play makes us realise that our memories shape us and make us who we are today.
The play, as it progresses makes you recollect your younger carefree days as well as small, unimportant instances that occurred recently, so much so that you let the mobile vibrating in your pocket be as it is and give the play your full undivided attention. Now, to make a hall full of people follow suit, that is quite an achievement!
Thought-provoking, humorous, poignant, irreverent and sometimes inscrutable, ‘The Blue Mug' was all this and more. A buffet of memories bringing to life adolescent romance, childhood pranks, visits to the city, growing up in a joint family, the first date, cantankerous elders and many more. Beautifully scripted, free flowing, the performances were flawless. I don't think there was anybody in the audience who did not find a resonance in their own lives. Ranvir Shorey was brilliant in his portrayal of a man with dementia; pathos and gentle, rustic, inadvertent humour exquisitely intertwined. A disturbing reminder of what happens when we forget to remember. Or perhaps, as Rajat Kapoor said; a counterpoint to the main message, that it may be better to forget sometimes.
Kudos to the Company Theatre Group!
It was a wonderful treat!
Most of the time I felt like skimming through my own memories, so familiar, so lively and then fading away myself....The cast was superb. The lady narrating that part of her grandpa and grandma was so original. They made excellent use of the stage, light and shade, enough to keep your eyes glued to the stage. Wish more and more creations from this group would come here.
The stage was blank. One might think, it is yet to be set.
But every memory recalled and every word uttered by the gifted artists conjured images out of void, setting the stage in the course of the play.
On the one hand the tongue-in-cheek comedy makes you laugh out loud and suddenly the memory turns grim, leaving you shocked by the tragedy recalled.
The celebrated cast in their casual attire and manner and nature of memories made it easier for the audience to relate to, unlike in movies.
A plot that seemed to run parallel and yet well knitted into the play is that of Joginder- one who lives in all of us, in his prime with only the pleasant memories.
The play does not really end after 90 minutes, but the actors are just beginning to dig out more memories,
90 minutes worth remembering in days to come.
Anila Mathew V.
‘Memory' shines as the true star of the evening, in ‘The Blue Mug'. Displayed in rainbow colours through moments in the lives of the characters, it takes the audience to the regions of the mind where childhood and adolescence play hide and seek. On the one hand the barren world of Ranvir brings alive the necessity of memories. Human life is after all an album of memories. Familiarity with actors, simplicity of narrative leads to instant affinity and profound indulgence. A winner that enthrals, it ensures that you take home a good memory.
The star-studded stage needed no undue props to sparkle. One's movie- jaded mind may have expected the usual comic pairing of Vinay and Ranvir.
But one watched fascinated as the latter portrayed the amnesiac Punjabi with pathos. Vinay Pathak had all the applause-garnering moves; one could not however grudge him, given his energetic depiction. Rajat Kapoor and the ladies blended in efficiently enough. And Munish was one person I could personally identify with (“Yes, I remember that!”)
If one has to be a carping critic, one could point to the slight period and geographic bias of the characters and their memories.
Dr. Unnikrishnan K. Menon
Real memories of each of the actors of the play are threaded together in an attempt to bring out the fact that memories make a person.
The director contrasts this with the story of Joginder Chauhan, a Punjabi man with dementia.
Though the play is not clear on why Chauhan's limited memories make his life less meaningful than the select memories of the others, it does take an intriguing look at how the actors' memories define them.
Ranvir Shorey shines with his inimitable Punjabi accent and inane expressions. Vinay Pathak comes a close second with his hilarious recounts of childhood. On the whole, the play provides an interesting thought - what I remember and how I remember it could be most of all, a reflection on myself.
Subhash Gopalakrishnan Vennala