Theatre Theatre

The play ‘Chinese Crackers’ focuses on human frailty

A scene from ‘Chinese Coffee’

A scene from ‘Chinese Coffee’   | Photo Credit: By arrangement

‘Chinese Crackers’ to be staged this weekend unfolds over a conversation between two middle-aged friends

A few years ago, Danish Husain chanced upon a DVD set of four movies made by Al Pacino that were never released. “Being a Pacino fan, I just grabbed them,” he recalls. He kept Chinese Crackers, what he thought would be the the most unappealing movie in the set to watch at the end but it turned out to be the most exciting one. He purchased the play rights and thus produced Chinese Coffee, premiered in Delhi in 2012. Since then the celebrated play has travelled to different cities and nowmakes its debut in Hyderabad as part of Qadir Ali Baig Theatre Festival’s ‘Theatre Weekend.’ “The Foundation had invited us earlier and we are eagerly looking forward to perform this weekend.” He is glad theatre lovers finally get to see this ‘literary marvel.’ Written by American playwright Ira Lewis, the play has been adapted and directed by Danish Husain and features him and Vrajesh Hirjee.

The 90-minute play in English unfolds over a conversation between two middle-aged friends — a failed writer and a struggling photographer (who believes he is a writer) “It is one cold evening in February when one friend drops at the other friend’s house because he is out of job and the friend owes him money,” he says. The story is set in Delhi and over this conversation their friendship falls apart. “It is a great reflection of how human interactions are; Often we are navigating endless things in relationships where there is friendship, rivalry and also sometimes malicious feelings. In terms of friends and enemies, we have perhaps a few of them but if we look at ‘trenemies’, that is a huge zone.” It will be a treat to watch the way human story unfolds between these two characters and their crackling language in a set which looks like a studio apartment, says Danish and adds, I wanted the play to look like a graphic novel. There is a story for all of us where we are on the edge of open despair. It is a precarious balance that most of us operate in our lives and so beautifully depicted in the lives of these two characters when they fall. Human frailty in the story attracted me; Also one would love to hear this play for its language.”

Danish Husain

Danish Husain   | Photo Credit: By arrangement

Danish wears many hats shifting between roles of a poet, storyteller, (Remember his Qissebaazi?) actor and theatre director. The Qissebaazi project took him recently to Australia.

He is in awe of the appreciative Hyderabadi audience. “I have been performing for the last 15 years in Hyderabad andeach time there has been a warm reception. Hyderabad is steeped in culture and history; People who live here have a sense of being with that culture. Outsiders who have moved to the city have assimilated this culture. When you perform a literary text from India or from anywhere in the world, there is genuine appreciation.”

(Qadir Ali Baig Theatre Foundation’s ‘Theatre Weekend’ presents Chinese Crackers on June 22 at Radisson Blu Plaza, Banjara Hills; 7 30 pm onwards)

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Printable version | Feb 23, 2020 3:57:24 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/theatre/chinese-crackers-unfolds-over-a-conversation-between-two-middle-aged-friends/article28099927.ece

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