Boiled Beans on Toast traces the interwoven lives of half-a-dozen people who have opted to live in Bangalore. They are very different from each other, belong to widely divergent social strata, and come from different geographical areas. Starting under a single roof, these lives branch out in various directions, get entangled in the swirl of life outside where they lose track of themselves, they separate or unexpectedly collide and careen off each other. The city is Bangalore but anyone familiar with life in a modern Indian megalopolis will instantly respond to this portrayal of urban aspirations, conflict, blind groping and violence. A serene old lady unexpectedly discovers a passion for horse-racing and is not averse to cheating her own family; a small-town youth devoted to his family is mesmerised by prospects of sudden prosperity; a trustworthy servant of many years is discovered floating homeless in the nightmarish streets; a not-very-bright young maid learns how to fight for survival within the confines of a kitchen. What we have is modern city life in its many shadow-shapes, funny, tender, moving, relentless in its pursuit of success, buffeted by ceaseless emotional flux.
The Primetime Theatre Company was set up in March 1991 with the twin objectives of providing a platform for original Indian writing in English and travelling with its work across India and abroad to showcase indigenous work in different cultures and milieus and to explore performances in different spaces and venues. The company has played at prestigious international and national festivals, in educational institutions, and supper theatres. Twenty years on, the company has completed over 2000 shows across the world with productions that have often been landmarks and paved the way for a wave of original Indian writing. Some of the company's critically acclaimed work includes 'Dance Like a Man' (1995), 'Autobiography' (1996), 'Jaya - The Victory!' (an operatic montage of the Mahabharata - 1998), 'On a Muggy Night in Mumbai' (1999), 'Siren City' (2000), '30 Days in September' (2001), ‘Sammy’ (2005), 'Kanyadaan' (2007), 'Wedding Album' (2008), 'Adhe Adhure'.
'Boiled Beans on Toast' is a deceptively simple play, that in a non-linear narrative, lays bare the aspirations and hopes of a large mass of Indians today, but also subtly explores several modern themes such as urban migration, environmental concerns, consumerism etc, all laced with a great deal of warmth and humour. As a director, I find it challenging to bring out the subtle nuances of Karnad's work, and feel excited and privileged to premiere a play that will remain a mirror of our times for years to come.
Vikrant Thakar, Shailesh Hejmady & Jignesh Karia
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