‘The Mother’, a first-of-its kind theatrical production to be staged in Hyderabad in December, will have an audio release tomorrow

Theatre in Hyderabad is set to get bigger than ever before. One may have seen huge, expensive productions with a cast that came from major metros, or city productions being staged in other cities, but have you ever seen a locally produced play — a musical at that — attract talent from the film industry, go bilingual and big budget, have a music launch, experiment with sets and then go on nation-wide tours? Well, we saw it all taking shape during its rehearsals.

It is a first-of-its-kind Telugu –English production to be staged in Hyderabad with a whopping Rs. 40 lakh plus as its budget! Eleven big sets and rehearsals are underway for The Mother – a play on Mother Teresa in Telugu (the production will be called Mother in English) being directed by Fr. U. Balashowry. We walk into Amruthavani Studios and find Fr. Balas’s excitement levels to be quite high After all, it is a dream come true for him. “We want to raise the standards of staging a drama in Hyderabad,” he asserts.

The Mother portrays the journey of a simple Loretto nun Teresa to her transformation to be Mother Teresa of the world. “The unique thing about Mother Teresa was that she broke barriers and reached out. Her struggles, the difficult stages in her life and how she overcame them all and became the Mother form the story,” he says.

The idea of making theatre an alternate entertainment came to him while Fr. Bala was doing a Masters degree in Fine Arts from Loyola Marymount University in USA. His first film The Last Appeal won three international awards including the one at the Las Vegas International Film Festival. . “Theatre is like cinema in the US,” he says and adds, “Every town has a lot of theatre artistes who stage plays and are patronised by people. I was fascinated with the way theatre is encouraged there. I wanted to create that kind of atmosphere in Hyderabad where watching a play is an experience in itself,” he says.

The Mother hopes to provide a memorable theatrical experience to theatre lovers. First, big names associated with television and films are part of the play — film writer Akella Suryanarayana (who has written the story), Suddala Ashok Teja (lyricist) and Anup Reubens (music). Television actor Sreeja is playing Mother Teresa. Next, the team visited Kolkata and lived with the Sisters at Missionaries of Charity to experience Mother Teresa’s work.

The Mother in Telugu will be staged at Shilpa Kala Vedika on December 9 and 10. Plans are on to take the English production to Kolkata, Pune, Bangalore and other cities. Besides the production is having an audio release on October 31 at Royal Reve Hotel on S.D. Road. “The audio release is a first for a theatre production and cricketer V.V.S. Laxman will release the album,” says Fr. Bala.