MPTF 2014 Theatre

‘We are old men, dirty or otherwise’

B.S. Prakash, Vijay Marur and Shankar Melkote talk about Return of the Dirty Old Men, to be staged as part of MetroPlus Theatre festival 2014 in Hyderabad Photo: Sangeetha Devi Dundoo  

Return of the Dirty Old Men



Venue: Ravindra Bharathi



Date: August 24; 7.30p.m.



B.S. Prakash, Shankar Melkote and Vijay Marur found themselves amidst young theatre enthusiasts, with the average age between 17 and 20, about three years ago. The trio observed that the younger lot spoke a language of theatre different from theirs. It was a contest called ‘Skits’ that called for original play-lets and the trio was approached to be a part of it. “We are old men, dirty or otherwise, and have a different view of life. But we have a fairly good zest for life,” chuckles playwright Vijay Marur. The concept of the ‘three old men’ came about and through skits, they decided to address relevant social issues in a lighter vein. What emerged was a format with fun and a little message thrown in.



Return of the Dirty Old Men is a progression of that idea and also marks the fiftieth year of Dramatic Circle of Hyderabad, one of the earliest English amateur theatre groups in the city. “We decided to take the format to the next level and make the ‘three dirty old men’ a brand,” laughs director B.S. Prakash.



In this play, the trio play men in their 60s and 70s who frequent a pub and are privy to a buzz among the youngsters. A European girl is coming to town and the men think of ways to draw her attention. The elderly men refuse to accept a barb that they are old and hence don’t figure in the race, and throw their hats in. “It’s a modular script and we have several actors appearing in significant parts and cameos,” says Shankar Melkote.



The 90-minute play will touch upon several issues and question the pointlessness of the mad scramble for the attention of a young woman. Melkote feels the play has elements of the ‘theatre of the absurd’. “The play speaks the language of today,” he sums up.



Director’s cut: B.S. Prakash



Apart from you, Vijay Marur and Shankar Melkote, several members of Alliance Francaise, Goethe Zentrum and Hyderabad Western Music Forum are in the play. Was it tough handling a huge cast?



We have 20-odd members in the cast, apart from the Hyderabad Western Music Forum that will be live on stage. Vijay Marur (the playwright) gave me a bar chart listing out which member of the cast is on which page of the script; that made it simple. So each rehearsal we had relevant members coming in. What’s interesting is many of them play characters that have traits of their own.



Can you elaborate on some of these characters?



One of the cast members has done his Ph.D on P.G. Wodehouse. In the play, the audience will see him sit by the bar and all of a sudden, spout a few lines from Wodehouse’s works. Namitha, a yoga enthusiast, plays a role that requires her to do some yoga on stage. We also have a ramp walker, a posterised ramp walker i.e. the poster of a model, a ghost of Sherlock Holmes, a soccer fanatic and a Kuchipudi dancer among others. All these characters play small, significant parts. I’d call it a farcical script and these characters come together like a puzzle, in the climax. We haven’t disclosed the climax to all members of the cast. There is an element of suspense.



The play marks the golden jubilee year of Dramatic Circle of Hyderabad. What significance will the play hold for theatre enthusiasts in the city?



We reached out to several theatre groups in the city and many of them were willing to be a part of the celebration and do cameos in this play. We will have many theatre personalities from the city, either on stage or on screen through a multimedia projection.



The play is for a mature audience since it deals with issues such as LGBT among other things. There is a lot of fun but we don’t use profanities, since we are not comfortable with it.

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