STAGE The Players get it right with “Threesome without Simone”. PHEROZE L. VINCENT
Three yellow stage lights placed on the floor, six black stools and a door beyond which lies a tense and mysterious world — an illusion The Players induce with the skill of their craft. Kirori Mal College’s theatre group, The Players, put up a clinically incisive performance of German playwright Kristo Sagar’s “Threesome without Simone” on March 23. It was part of The Collegiate Theatre Festival for New German Writing, which concluded recently at Max Mueller Bhawan. The four college drama troupes that participated were mentored by MetroPlus Playwright Award winner Neel Chaudhuri, whose influence clearly shows in the mise en scene.
The play revolves around three boys who have been called to the principal’s office after an undisclosed ghastly incident — presumably rape — has happened on a classmate of theirs. The conversation, thoughts and gradual breakdown of the psyche of the boys, all suspects in the investigation, is what the play is made up of.
That the play was good is without doubt. Whether it towered high above what one expects from a college play is a question that has many answers depending on the plays you have watched lately. One thing for sure is that both university and professional theatre groups had a lot learn from how The Players played it out on Saturday.
The three boys — Balraj Agarwal (Abhishek Basak), the geek; Kabir Verma (Lakshay Narang), the victim Simone’s lover; and Aman Saxena (Nikhil Sood), her homosexual friend — shared the sense of timing and repartee. There’s attention to detail, simple things that describe the character more than a script can. Like Balraj’s habit of twirling his ball pen or Kabir’s nervous foot tapping that built up the tension in the room.
All the actors were very good at their roles. The emotions and quirks were effectively translated into dramatic action.
The lighting was a bare minimum, but the directors Nina Sud and Shardul Bhardwaj used them effectively for dramatic mood changes. The actors also used the oil black stools in various positions, a performance by itself.
The dialogue freezes to fill in voids when the boys are called to the principal’s office one by one. During these freezes, the spotlight falls on a single character. It partially breaks through their respective facades, giving an insight into their personalities and past. Yet, the suspense is maintained. In fact, these revelations are even more intriguing.
The sequence created an aura of suspense around the principal’s room, behind a door with glass windows. So much so that there is a parallel track of suspense with viewers shooting quick glances to see if there’s any movement.
The play throws a number of different ideas at the audience. To each his own. As a critic, it is a treat to see so much created with so little.