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Updated: November 22, 2013 20:04 IST

Stories through music

SRAVASTI DATTA
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Characters are complex and interesting tartline They exemplify every strata of Bangalore society
Characters are complex and interesting tartline They exemplify every strata of Bangalore society

Tahatto and Retronome present Bangalores, in which theatre and music stand together, in their independent capacities

Two art forms, theatre and music will come together this weekend. Tahatto, an English theatre group, and Retronome, one of the city’s most well-known music bands, have collaborated to create their first-of-its kind production Bangalores. Prashanth Nair, director of Bangalores, and Chris Avinash, Bangalore-based musician, the producer, have collaborated to present a play and a music concert that are each individual performances.

“Chris and I have worked together for one of my earlier productions, Romeo and Juliet. It got me wondering about the role of music in a play. I thought, ‘why can’t music and theatre stand together in a production. Why should music only aid in the telling of a story in a play? And why should theatre be the main driver, so to speak, of the story?,” says Prashanth.

The decision for which song would go with which story was carefully arrived at by both members of Tahatto and Retronome giving their suggestions. “As we were writing the script, they suggested songs. There are songs of different genres, there’s I Want To Break Free, Rolling In The Deep by Adele, Paani Da, etc.”

Bangalores, written by Badarivishal Kinhal and Prashanth, captures the essence of life in Bangalore. The play is set in a bar, where seven strangers, each with their own stories, run into each other. “It made sense to place the story in a bar. On the other hand, though we consider a bar to be a comfortable space to socialise, it is a largely alienated or isolated place and Bangalore is sort of like that. The strangers happen to visit the bar in an evening when the band is playing. One of the characters inadvertently affects another stranger in a positive way, it goes full circle, and comes back to the first character.”

The characters are complex and interesting. “One character is a prospective writer working on his first novel and this is probably his biggest bet to make it as a writer. He has 24 hours to turn in his book, but he still doesn’t have an ending. A woman, involved in a MMS scandal.

In a MMS clip she is shown passionately kissing her boyfriend. She talks to the audience, saying how funny it is that instead of taking to task the person who leaked the MMS, she is being targeted.

There is a waiter, who over the last four or five months, has been slowly growing deaf. All he wants is someone to say something considerate to him before he turns completely deaf. There’s a time traveller who occasionally stops by the bar to use the loo. On that particular day, though, the woman finishes her monologue and rushes into the loo and bolts it.

From then on, the time traveller tries to get into the loo, but he admits that it is a nice time to be in the bar. The time traveller is a doubtful character, though. Some people think he is just a weird, blabbering drunk guy. Then there’s also a same sex couple who come to the bar to part ways, but do so amicably and logically. An auto driver walks into the bar to see why it is such a big deal.

And I have upgraded one of the characters of an earlier production, Full Meals, and placed him in a public space.”

Prashanth adds that he has brought within the play characters who exemplify every strata of Bangalore society. “I have explored characters that live on the ‘fringes’ of society. Earlier there were single-screen theatres and fairs, now an entire group of people have no common space where they can interact. A mall is an exclusive space too. On the other hand, we like to associate ourselves with certain cliques, there is a sense of distinct alienation.”

As a playwright, Prashanth ensures he doesn’t preach to an audience. “I like the story or text to be a dialogue with the audience. I don’t like to talk down, an audience can trace condescension and they get put off.”

Bangalores will be performed in English, Kannada and a little bit of Hindi and will be staged at Jagriti Theatre, Whitefield, today at 8 p.m. and tomorrow at 3 p.m. and 6.30 p.m. For tickets visit bookmyshow.com.

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