MPTF 2014 Theatre

Citizen Reviews: It's Not Waht You Think

A scene from the play 'It's Not Waht You Tihnk!' by Cartel, Mumbai. Photo: K. Ramesh Babu   | Photo Credit: K_RAMESH BABU

The second day’s play It’s not Waht you Tihnk! had the audience rolling in the aisles, and the response to ‘Citizen reviews’, overwhelming as usual. Mahesh Patil is selected as the ‘Citizen Reviewer’ for the play.

Stupendous show

Dr Godbole you truly cured us of the sickness of mundane life. Laughter is the best medicine they say. Returning home while opening the door key ‘Push’ was my wife’s reaction. I looked back to hear the retort, “It’s not what you think”. The theatrics of the single lady episode dreaming for a handsome prince was hilarious to the hilt and without doubt won many suitors in the audience. The innocence of Baby Singh, hankering of the old lady towards getting more from the hunk was splendid and our feeling for more playtime at the end of 90 minutes was no different from the old lady’s desire “Yeh Dil Maange More”.

The epitome of this play was the classical singing performance of the very old fragile guru and the young disciple. The fall of the facade of reverence with the bottle, breaking the rules of the civilised world was awesome. The donning of the guru’s role falls short of words for appreciation. Political satire with the death of Dayashankar the dog, the media’s overhyped breaking news concept with the exposure of extremely uninteresting human private act on national media and the appropriate idiom of good times having arrived was made extremely entertaining with the accent, break out of short dances and lo! We were at the end of a stupendous performance.

Thank you Cartel Mumbai, The Hindu and the great extempore artistes from the audience.

Mahesh Patil

Brilliant effort

The second day of The Hindu MetroPlus Theatre Fest 2014 gave Hyderabad theatre lovers a chance to see It’s Not Waht You Tihnk!, a brilliant effort by Director Deepal Doshi. Just three actors kept the audience not only spellbound for a 70- minute non-stop hilarious comedy sequences but brought the house down several times with stunning performances by Deepal Doshi, Kathryn Doshi and Yuki Ellias.

Having said that, one cannot but point out that two pieces were not in good taste. The one depicting Motherhood before delivery. It is an act of Nature designed with unimaginable precision; something to be admired and marvelled at, not made fun of.

The second one out of sync is the one depicting an old lady trying to sing a classical music piece. Badly blown out of proportion. Satire is okay. But ridicule, sorry, that’s in a bad taste.

Parsa V R Rao

Masks we wear

Cartel’s production of It’s Not Waht You Tihnk! seamlessly conveyed myriad Indian archetypes through a cast of three. The effective use of the Commedia dell’arte masks not only revealed the actors’ remarkable control over the modulation of their voice and body to express the situation but also more significantly showcased the group’s ability to discover parallels between the 16th century Italian archetypes and the contemporary Indian context.

I was constantly reminded of a brilliant line from T.S. Elliot’s Prufrock, “To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet”. Although masks are not new to Indian drama, this play actively used them to expose the façade of power that the old man wields over his bai or the 24/7 news channels that ‘make it happen’ rather than report what has happened. The highlight for me was the airhead heiress, who is torn between succumbing to the pressure of an arranged marriage and fulfilling her dreams of being swept off her feet by a knight, as she coquettishly tries to find her soul mate in the audience. Each character’s situation tickles us into recognising our own disguises. The masks perhaps help us appreciate that things are not always ‘what’ they seem.

Gauri Nori

Side-splittingly funny

The three actors managed the myriad roles aided amply by the most creatively designed masks and costumes! It was a great idea to have short skits in the place of one long play. Brilliant acting and great comic timing raised the quality of the bunch of skits much above the standards of a school play for children — which otherwise would have been the case given the brevity of each skit and the light hearted content. The actors in each short skit displayed not only their fantastic acting skills but also the agility and dexterity of professional acrobats. There were many scenes which also required a talent in mime where again the actors did not disappoint. The skit with the thief and the sex obsessed house owner had one in splits but one wished it wasn’t so explicit! The other skit with the Prima Donna vocalist may have offended the sensibilities of a few music lovers with its irreverence but was nothing short of hilarious! The spoof on breaking news reporting was side splittingly funny! All in all an evening well spent.. even if my jaws ached from laughing non-stop!

Sunita Reddy

A laughter riot

I entered the auditorium all tired, but left with a stomach ache owing to all the laughter. The credit not only goes to the doctor who could cure it all and his not so common mistake, but also to Shakti, Lataji (my personal favorite), Lovely, Baby and the very happening ladies at channel X and Y.

I was fascinated by Commedia dell’arte and how that despite wearing masks, each expression was clear. The sound effects were brilliant. The stories, short and sweet were portrayed excellently by just three actors and their impeccable and accurate timing. I really loved how the stories were weaved together smoothly.

Kudos to the Cartel team for indulging the audience who were caught unaware and for playing along with whatever the audience members had to say on stage.

Witty and charming, despite being masked the actors brought out into the open clichéd Indian characters and their peculiarities in a very unique manner. It was a laughter riot. Waht a play, seriously waht a play!

Aayushi Deshpande

What’s the purpose?

It’s not Waht you Tihnk! is true to its title. In this play the masks were used by characters with no serious aesthetic purpose as such. The mask should represent either a strong trait of a character, or represent somebody / something what is seen on the stage. In this case robber is a robber and old lady is a old lady, they don’t represent anybody or anything. It is too much of experimentation and makes the play very painful to watch, yet, one will not fail to appreciate-the democratic space provided by the director and his cast to interact with the audience deserves to be appreciated.

N. Mukteswara Rao

Masking poor humour?

Sometimes when I return from a play that I have not enjoyed, I feel old, prudish, out of tune, out of sync and out there in the cold! I’m prepared to concede that since everyone was smiling at each other when the lights came on, and there had been a peal of applause, the fault for feeling a little peeved with the inane goings on was with me and me alone-as perhaps it was!

I certainly fall into the category of ‘Mature Audience’ right? I don’t mind Jairam Ramesh or the Prime Minister speaking about ‘shauchalayas’ but I don’t like blatant “Show-chalayas”. I don’t mind suggestions and double entendres and puns and innuendos-but masks can’t always mask poor humour and ‘phlat jokes’! (And don’t you think someone should have explained to us, the antediluvian segment of the audience, what Commedia Dell’arte was all about? Only masks, which the Indian folk lore tradition has always used, and ‘physical humour’?) Was I to be impressed with the craft of the masks, the versatility of just three actors playing 17 different characters (important for a travelling theatre company to travel light!) or the daft situations?

Meena Murdeshwar

Mask symbolism

It’s not waht you tihnk!, a compilation of eight short plays put up together, seemed like a peek into our very own society. Making the audience a subject, the director did succeed in demanding his/her/doctor’s- as sarcastically pointed out in the play-attention. In one such short play a jubilant old man who could sing and dance to his favourite numbers couldn’t get himself a glass of water. He had to depend on his rather loud and annoying “caretaker” who did all the work for him including ironing his undergarments, which seems to point out that the maid in our society is more of a habit than a necessity. The daughter of an industrialist-seemed to have issues with her father- blames her father for her sorrows and the “inappropriate looking man” for her pregnancy, effectively denying taking responsibility. The jubilant old man, the industrialist’s daughter and the sexually starved lonely old lady were each one of us or so it seemed to say. Wearing a mask, in a way to conceal one’s identity, the cast enacted taking turns. Was the mask symbolising the hypocrisy in our society where we choose to point fingers and laugh it off instead of looking into ourselves?

Beautifully performed by Deepal Doshi, Kathryn Doshi and Yuki Ellias the hilarious play did intend to provoke a few and in my opinion it did.

Suman Raju


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