"Phantom Parody", a play staged in aid of Alert, was all about familiar situations in life
To be perfectly honest, the cause was more interesting than the fund-raising play. Alert's "Phantom Parody," organised by `rebelz', was in aid of `Alert,' an organisation consisting of youngsters intent on training people in emergency medical care and first aid.
The play was an amateur, if courageous, attempt at creating an original production with a tailor-made script written by one of the actors. The cast consisted of young professionals, primarily in IT, which could explain why it was all about a small-town boy, Srivatsan, suddenly finding himself in highenergy, fast-paced, trendy New York. A great idea, actually, but unfortunately our desi hero seemed too unbelievably na‹ve, with his IT geek clich‚s and village- boy pretensions, to identify with. Just like his New York buddy, `VJ Sam' (formerly Vijayswami) who spent the last six years being Americanised. "It's simply rocking here_ Life is all about partying and girlfriends." Our poor Srivatsan on the other hand still thinks fuel is `gobar gas.' On the bright side, there were some nice touches, like when Srivatsan complains of the visa queue, and trying to sneak through customs with tamarind powder and three bottles of pickle.
Despite the occasional hamming, and patches of stilted conversation, the play could work thanks to the fact that so much of it is so familiar, particularly to Chennai, where we all know boys like the two main protagonists. Even they aren't quite so overblown.
The cause, on the other hand, is a very practical idea. How often have you felt helpless at an accident-site, or in fact anywhere you see people suddenly get very sick? `Alert' works on the basis of the fact that lives can be saved, if only everybody gets some basic training in first aid. They provide this training in schools and colleges, as well as places like auto stands and travel agencies. Their vision is to bring together doctors, police, lawmakers and the common man. And to reach a point when at least one person in every family is trained to deal with emergencies. For more details, log onto www.alert-wecare.orgSHONALI MUTHALALY