PLAYFull Meals by Tahatto was full of spicy vignettes with a liberal dash of humour
Full meals that's so spicy that they make one laugh-out-loud? In case you're wondering, I'm not at a restaurant at the end of the Universe. I am at Alliance Francaise, watching six original short plays and one revamped play on life, love and laughter.
Tahatto — a young, hip theatre group — takes theatre for entertainment a creative notch higher with their latest production “Full Meals”.
The two waiters, who serve the play-meals (so to speak), spice up the evening further. The menu card reads thus: Tangy Kalyani with frozen Avinash Rajendran and generous doses of attraction; beaten, whipped and roasted Vikram combined with a heady, overpowering dose of Prashanth, and so on.
The short plays depict life in all its hilarity. The stories range from love and job loss to losing hope and fighting one's enemy for the sake of national honour. The script sparkles with wit and innovation. The characters, though quirky, are believable. The stories are well though out and the performances are powerful.
The combination of Hindi, English, Urdu and Kannada dialogues further enhance the performances. A short performance of Badarivishal and Piyush as the statues of Muslim and Hindu freedom fighters, respectively, is particularly commendable. Poetry in Hindi and shayari flow forth in lyrical beauty, accompanied by wah-wah's from the audience.
I find the play “The beginning of the end” moving. The commander Avinash Rajendran orders Syed Yasin to shoot an enemy. Yasin refuses to shoot despite repeatedly being asked to do so. His supposedly lame excuse: “He's smiling, I can't shoot!” may elicit laughter from the audience, but it touches me personally.
He finally reveals that he met his “enemy” a few days ago, who told him that he would soon be a father. The commander remains unimpressed. He points the gun to Yasin's head. The lights dim. The sound of the spray of bullets fills the air. A silence descends that weighs heavily on the audience.
Within seconds, the stage is illuminated by three spotlights, each of which is focused on three seated individuals.
The trio, Kalyani, Natasha and Prashanth, presents different perspectives on Bangalore in “Three Times”. Kalyani is the voice of the old Bangalore, when it was still a leafy, pensioner's paradise. Natasha is the voice of the immigrant from the North while Prashanth is the voice of the local. The script is engaging, peppered with hilarious anecdotes.
Theatre for entertainment is both appreciated for the crowds it draws and criticised by high-browed intellectuals. Tahatto addresses this dichotomy in an informal tête-à-tête between Badarivishal and Piyush.
Tahatto does a good job overall, but they need to pay more attention to stage management, props, sets and technical glitches.