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Laughter sans frills

Comic Interlewd ... full of amusing twists. — Pic. by K.V. Srinivasan.

BLUE FLIERS announced "Comic Interlewd," misdirected by KK, wrongly produced by Masquerade and in aid of nothing! But, at Sivagami Pethachi Auditorium the handbill hummed a different tune. It was a third time of Laughter Without Frills by Masquerade. Short one-act plays are put on stage and the actors, with almost no support from sets, lights or choreography deal with the scripts, using just their body and voice.

Comic Interlewd comprised five pieces spanning an hour and a half. They were played either in front of the drawn curtain, or on a stage, using the same setting. Comedy came from amusing twists in sexual compulsions or obsessions and particular ways of dealing with issues. ``Your Mother's Butt" opened the show. The obviously messed up client (Samanth Subramanian) is in session with his shrink (Shakila Arun) who is desperately searching for an entry point - anything other than his obsession with shoes and belts. She thinks she has found one when he remembers his discomfort at finding his mother's butt literally in his face. Shrink fails to draw him out. He finds more meanings in a pair of shoes. Samant and Shakila did a good job. Their timing was perfect, there was teamwork and both shared a sense of comedy. In ``Tenacity," Joe (KK) tries to help Oscar (Vipluv Aga), an invertebrate apology for a man, to bring some dignity into his life and relationship with girlfriend Julia (Pavithra Prasad).

``Compulsion," the last play, was a variation on the same theme. Sybil (Rashmi Balakrishnan) redefines the role of sex in marriage and relationships. An exasperated Scotty (Samanth Subramanian) suggests that his friend Joe (KK) pose as a Catholic priest and guide her towards female submission. In between were two interludes. Freddie Koikaran, most formally dressed, addressed the audience briefly a la the compere of a beauty contest. He extolled on the virtues of performing in the Sivagami Pethachi Auditorium and gave three reasons why all other acting spaces in the city should be avoided. As he left, five women, clad in zari-bordered saris, came on and held forth in verse of sorts about how they coped with their husbands, who were the stuff of history. They were Mrs. Aesop (Srividya Balaji), Pope Joan (Shruti Chandrasekharan), Pygmalion's Bride (Mallika Sen), Mrs. Sisyphus (Anjana Raghavan and Euridice (Manasi Subramaniam). These two segments failed to make any point at all! It was, however, a pleasant evening. Yet again KK impressed the audience with his penchant for good scripts and skewed humour. It presented to the audience three very good actors. Whenever Shakila, Samanth or KK entered the stage the action picked up, things fell into place and the audience sat up and paid attention. The lights and accompanying music were also good.

The source of humour (other than sex) for the evening, on the eve of Easter, was the Catholic Church! The parents who accompanied the under-fifteens were disappointed - there were no suggestive scenes (as promised in the handbill). A single four-letter expletive that repeatedly punctuated the script didn't really call for parental guidance either and the whole effort, after all, was in aid of something - to help support a young girl battling cancer.


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