‘The Blue Mug' is as much about the shadows and the choreography as it is about the acting and dialogues. Spanning 90 minutes, the play consists of two parts that interweave spotlights, shadows, monologues, dialogues, blackboards and sheer brilliance. If one part is all about the vivid memories of Rajat Kapoor, Vinay Pathak and company, the other part is all about Ranvir Shorey's lack of memory. With the cast reminiscing about their childhood, the seemingly innocuous and unconnected situations gradually intertwine to create a spectacular pattern that is abstract yet vividly defined. Poignant, reflective, melancholic and downright hilarious in equal measure, ‘The Blue Mug' is a work of art brought together by performers par excellence who take the audience along on their journey. A metaphor for memories, the play will certainly leave you reminiscing.
Boat Club Road
Bittersweet symphony (winner)
With a movie, it's very easy to portray a wide range of emotions. If you ‘tweak' your lights, camera angles, and background music, you can go from sorrow to joy in a few seconds. But this is the only play that I have seen that has managed to create this same breathtaking range of emotions. It had me crying, laughing, and thinking, all in 80 minutes. If I had to use just one word to describe this play, it would be ‘bittersweet'. Rajat Kapoor and Ranvir Shorey outdid themselves. Kudos to Atul Kumar and The Company Theatre! They started out by telling us that memories are what construct the sum total of all of us, and they left one starry-eyed girl with some memories that she will never forget.
More than a play
Long after the play ended, I still had this hard-to-describe, warm and fuzzy feeling. ‘The Blue Mug' was more than just simply a play; it was an experience, a freewheeling conversation about everything that's life, from the innocence of childhood to the first kiss to the ultimate end of it all - death. In the end I can just say this: memory, you beautiful thing.
The MetroPlus Theatre Fest 2011 concluded with a bang! ‘The Blue Mug', directed by Atul Kumar of The Company Theatre consisted of a brilliant ensemble of characters presumably in their 40s, portrayed by actors who breathed authenticity into their roles with sheer spontaneity. There was not a dull moment during the 90 minutes, when humour and nostalgia combined to hold us in grip. Ranvir Shorey as the middle-aged amnesiac with only long-term memories took the cake with his rustic Punjabi. His bitter anger contrasted with the joy of reminiscing that the other characters conveyed as they related minor incidents from their lives. With clever lighting and no props, this was pure theatre at its best. An alluring invitation to travel down memory lane!
Joseph D. P. James
Not a dull moment
‘The Blue Mug' is an absolute laugh riot. Simplicity, superb acting and a free-flowing narrative are the defining characteristics of the play. Each actor's recollection of his or her own memories beautifully portrayed the gamut of emotions one experiences during childhood and adolescence. Moments like Sheeba's fetish to drink milk from a bottle fitted with a rubber nipple, and Rajat dressing up in a sari transported the audiences back in time. Munish was brilliant, especially when he described his friend's tryst with the Panditji in the loo, and his first date. The play never had a dull moment and will be a part of my memory forever. In a nutshell, ‘The Blue Mug' is a mug replete with memories and emotions that ought to be enjoyed by everyone.
K N Karthick Balan
A tapestry of memories. Spirited reminiscences, shattered thoughts, senseless acts, shards of woe, slivers of guilt, sudden amnesia interwoven, with a smattering of romance brought to life vivid images of the past. The juxtaposition of light and shadow, sound and silence, music and dance, chalk and talk, and white on black enriched the articulation of memories by the characters on stage. It was indeed a walk down memory lane, clutching a blue mug in hand, accompanied by your best pals Vinay Pathak, Ranvir Shorey and Rajat Kapoor. “We are what we forget,” the phrase reiterated by Sheeba Chadha evokes introspection, and there's much one takes back home. The standing ovation the play received was well-deserved. ‘The Blue Mug' was undeniably worthy of being the grand finale of The Hindu MetroPlus Theatre Fest 2011.
Too much Hinglish
I wonder if Mumbaikars would cringe, as I did, if they attended an English Play in Mumbai and found out that a good portion of it was Tam-glish, and that stories started out in English but ended with punch lines in Tamil. A few of us, including various foreigners in the audience, looked on blankly while the crowd that understood Hindi had a blast. I blame my Dad for making me take Sanskrit rather than Hindi in school. I guess I also missed the fact that it was a piece on reminiscences rather than a play. Much as I admire Rajat Kapoor, Vinay Pathak and Ranvir Shorey, I was painfully reminded of the times when friends invited me to their homes for dinner and subjected me to their vacation photos and videos.
‘The Blue Mug' was more than just a play; it was an experience so natural that it felt as though you were catching up with a bunch of old friends. That was how well the actors connected with the audience. As the actors performed, their shadows gracefully dancing on the walls, backed by spectacular lighting and lovely music, one relived one's own memories – those fears and joys, tears and laughter. ‘The Blue Mug' certainly will be a part of the audience's memories for a long time to come.
“We Are What We Forget”
Quite simply put, ‘The Blue Mug' works differently for different people. The central theme of the play is that one's present largely depends on one's memories – good, bad, horrendous, glorious, humorous, tragic, memorable and even forgettable – and this is brilliantly portrayed through monologues. The remarkable acting makes one experience all the emotions possible – from happiness to glum seriousness. The performers, with the help of the note-worthy lighting and music, blur the line between reality and fiction ‘The Blue Mug' connects with everyone at some level or another; there would be some strand of narrative in the play which will make one say, “Ah that happened to me!”
Mahima A Jain