Here are details on the three plays shortlisted for The Hindu MetroPlus Playwright Award 2014

The Hindu MetroPlus Playwright Award carries a prize of Rs. 1 lakh for the best unpublished and unperformed script. The winners will be announced before May 10.

The sins of the fathers

Musings of love, life and loss from an Anglo-Indian restaurateur as space and time make quantum leaps forwards, backwards and sideways

In The Name Of The Bully by Anshuman Acharya

While In the Name of The Bully starts innocuously enough, with a game of chess between Leo and Abbas, two old friends in Leo’s bistro, you quickly figure out that all is not as hunky dory as it seems. Leo’s good natured ribbing doesn’t seem all that good natured. Leo’s two sons, Francois, the younger, good son who stays with his father looking after the family business and Antoine, the elder son who ran away the moment he could.

Francois is going to become a father himself and through the course of the play we realise that he has sacrificed his dreams of becoming a musician to take care of the family business. The inoffensive Abbas, who owns the property the bistro is in, grew up with Leo in the orphanage owes Leo a lot. Leo’s elder son Antoine who is in London washing dishes after his doctorate “in post-colonial literature” seems to be the only one to stand up against his father’s bullying, but you realise there is a bully in him as well. As Leo comments: “there remain only two types: sheep and bullies.”

There are clues to the heart-breaking denouement through the play. Anshuman Acharya describes the play as “King Lear meets Pinter. It is a psychological play about bullying.” The 35-year-old writer and theatre artiste says he was “always fascinated by King Lear. I grew up in a joint family with 11 sisters and went to a boisterous all-boys school. So I was very interested in the difference between masculine and feminine bullying. With men it is always about ego while with women it is about caring.”

The Bangalore-based Anshuman teaches theatre at Headstart Educational Academy apart from assisting as director on two of Indian Ensemble’s upcoming productions. Talking about his fascination for King Lear, Anshuman says: I watched Akira Kurosawa’s Ran before I read the play. In the play the daughters have been substituted for sons and that changed the whole dynamic. That was something I wanted to explore.”

The death trap

Sharon Puthur’s Three Candles For The Dead is a suspense-filled, gripping murder mystery

Three Candles for The Dead by Sharon Puthur

A murder mystery, a story of love and betrayal, ghosts from the past and secrets buried in time, Sharon Puthur's Three Candles for the Dead is a gripping play with incredible twists and turns.

Sameer Varma, Assistant Commissioner of Police, has eight suspects, including a vengeful spirit, for a murder that takes place at a séance. His investigation unravels shocking truths, but the closer he thinks he is to solving the case, the more mysterious it gets.

A writer from Bangalore, Sharon’s first novel is May 28, which was self published. Speaking of what inspired her to write Three Candles for the Dead, Sharon says: “I love murder mysteries and this was an idea that I've been toying with for a long time. I took six months to write this but before that I had to think about the plot and cover all loop holes so that it turns out seamless and keeps the audience guessing till the end. I am inspired by Agatha Christie's novels too because she takes the trouble to create her plot well,” says Sharon, an alumnus of MS Ramaiah Institute of Technology, Bangalore where she graduated with honours as an Industrial Engineer.

Love and longing

Savithri Chandrasekhar’s Glass Baby is a play about relationships, betrayals and parenthood

Glass Baby by Savithri Chandrasekhar

Exploring the ethics of medical technology, the play was triggered by a photograph Savithri saw more than 20 years ago. “I noticed a photograph in a magazine of a musician who was sitting in front of a two-year-old child,” she says. “I remember thinking that the child’s face looked exactly like his — though at that time no one knew they were related. Later, it turned out that he was the father.” And thus her story on parentage was born. “I don’t want to give away too much of the story — but it’s essentially about two couples claiming ownership of a beautiful child — a test tube baby.” Born and brought up in Chennai, Savithri took to writing despite graduating in Chemistry from Stella Maris College. She wrote a children’s book, and then started writing articles and short stories for newspapers and magazines.