Theatre

Made for each other

A scene from "Are You Single". Photo: Special Arrangement   | Photo Credit: 31dfrAreYouSinglePlay

An adaptation of American playwright Jonathan Rand's “Check Please, Are you Single?”, which was presented by Desires Unlimited Drama Society at LTG auditorium this past week, offered undemanding light entertainment to an audience mainly consisting of young people.

Jointly conceived and directed by Avikant and Pallavi, Rand's play is one of the most popular dramas performed in North American high schools. The popularity of the play lies in the fact that it deals with dating, a popular aspect of the social life of young American people, treated in a lighter vein. Moreover, it is not preachy. The adapted version mostly retains the original script in English sparsely interspersed with dialogues in Hindi. The names of the characters are Indianised with a view to give the script Indian colour. The concept of dating among youngsters belonging to the upper middle class is gradually becoming part of social intercourse in Indian metropolises.

Simple storyline

The storyline is simple. Of course, there are complications and intrigues but these are resolved without much delay. Two young people — Sahil and Gunjan — are dating one another and their relationship ends on an acrimonious note. Their best friends with good intentions do their best to unite them; they devise a plan which boomerangs on them. Undaunted, they make another attempt.

Sahil and Gunjan declare that they are single again and start a desperate search for another single person to make a new start. They meet several people, and these atrociously blind dates become ridiculously funny.

They meet at a restaurant, inviting their prospective partner for dinner. Among the prospective partners is a foot-reading psychiatrist, an obsessive body weight reducer, a frustrated polygamist and a lady doctor whose cell phone rings incessantly, making conversation impossible.

The date ends abruptly before dinner could be served, making nervous bearers silent spectators to the scene created by the prospective partners.

The play opens with a highly upset Gunjan visiting her friend, telling her about her breakup with Sahil and then the action shifts to the residence of Sahil's friend where we learn Sahil's side of the story. The action takes place mostly in a restaurant.

Wooden frames

To depict these locales realistically, various wooden frames are joined together, easily folded and forming different shapes. On one side of these frames is shown the residence of the two friends. On the other side of the frames an ambience of a restaurant is provided. The frames are shifted in a smooth manner, ensuring uninterrupted continuity of action.

Offstage, the old film song “Dil Mera Churaya” is rendered softly to evoke a romantic mood. The production is neat and there is no attempt to resort to slapstick. Out of a series of confrontations between the single partners, the directors are able to bring the comic elements to the fore.

The cast drawn from young engineers from IIT Delhi brings youthful enthusiasm and freshness to their comic portrayals.

Ankush as Jamaal who feels unworthy that he has only two wives while his friends have more, Surabhi as Tara, who reads the feet of a person to tell his or her fate, and Rahul Jain as Balakrishnan, who is on an onion diet to reduce his weight, are eminently comic.

Varjeet as Sahil and Riccha as Gunjan create charmingly shy portraits towards the end evoking a sense of light-hearted humour in the audience.

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Printable version | May 15, 2021 1:48:29 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/theatre/Made-for-each-other/article12719058.ece

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