Theatre

A courtroom drama on Zoom

The drama will run for 90 minutes   | Photo Credit: special arrangement

The court is in session over the Zoom app. Split screens pop up as the jury assembles to discuss a case.

In an ideal world, the proceedings would have happened on a stage, replete with an elaborate set. But now, Chennai-based Dramact’s Reasonable Doubt will take form on the video conferencing platform, and then be live-streamed on YouTube to reach a wider audience. “It’s a jury drama. We have 12 characters, all perfectly delineated, in a jury room for 90 minutes,” says director Nilakantan N aka Nilu. “The story traces their fights and differences of opinion till they reach a common verdict,” he adds.

Though tweaked for a Zoom performance, the play has its own fair share of physicality to it. Reasonable Doubt is a quick play. Terse dialogues and one-liners are its strength; this also makes it a viable play for this particular medium.

The rehearsals were also managed online. “It is difficult for the actors because they have to find a way to interact with each other without the physical presence,” says Nilu.

The cast of 12 joins from different parts of the world. “Two of the actors are from Bengaluru, one each from Hyderabad and Connoor, and one from Hong Kong,” he notes. They have also had to work around time zones to realise the play, which made it quite the first time experience for Nilu.

However, not being “geographically challenged”, Nilu remarks, helped him reunite with actors he had not worked with for long. The catch here is the blocking. Everything from eyelines to moving positions in alignment to fellow actors matter. “Most of the time, the audience will see one person on the screen, or the character who is speaking,” says Nilu, adding, “But this doesn’t mean that the characters don’t interact with each other. Their positioning has also been choreographed.”

Reasonable Doubt will be performed on October 3, at 7 pm. Find tickets at www.mdnd.in.

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Printable version | Jan 27, 2021 4:07:06 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/theatre/a-jury-drama-on-zoom-screen/article32741896.ece

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