Take 3: Three one-act plays - Citizen reiews

CHENNAI: 15/08/2015: Artist performing at the play GRAND REHEARSAL, at the 11th Edition of The Hindu Theatre Fest, at Sir Mutha Venkatasubba Rao Concert Halll. in Chennai. Photo : R. Ravindran.   | Photo Credit: R_RAVINDRAN

Thumbs up to Grand Rehearsal

Timothy proved that slapstick writing is alive and well. The script was premised on silly friends and sillier situations and the narrative was anything but convincing. The actors did their parts well, but if you start on such a shaky foundation, there isn’t much you can pull off. I was left wondering why choose this script of all the ones available in the world? Grand Rehearsal connected with the audience right away, maybe because of the language or the premise — one tries to please a critic who actually turns out to be a movie producer looking for actors — and was a hit. Some really great one-liners, a bit of slapstick,earthy, tongue-in-cheek humour and some disjointed parts notwithstanding, it was the highlight of the night. I loved it. It is tough to follow a popular comedy, and if your piece is a serious take on a particular period, it's even tougher. And the artsy depiction of the radio, the tree, etc. didn’t catch on at all till late into the play. And by that time, half of the audience had given up. This piece needed a voiceover introduction that would have set the mood, if at least for the artsy kind. For the regular Joes like me, well, it was beyond understanding.


Funny all the way

Timothy was tautly adapted. Featuring just four characters, this one warmed up the audience for the evening ahead. Susan held her own with her terrific timing sense; Isaad was satirical, sly and incontrol, all at the same time. Annette managed to portray the transition from the hunted to the hunter effectively. Timothy, played by Sunil, managed to be bubbly and ultimately mysterious, scoring even with the relatively short screen space. Grand Rehearsal had the entire audience in splits. Be it the splendid acting by Bhargav as the drama producer/director, the Chandrababu-mannered person who played legendary director Krishnan Panchu, the narrator, the couple of ministers who later morphed seamlessly into seductresses, the prompter-turned-king who was delightful with his dance and song routines, the art direction, satirical koothu songs, the rooted background score — I can go on and on. The only grouse I have with this play is that the jokes came so thick and fast that many had to check with the person sitting next to them as to what they missed. The final play of the day, The Radiopotti, was something different. It, however, could not prevent audiences from leaving the hall.


Is Timothy what he seems?

I was intrigued when I read about Evam’s play and was curious to watch it. Annette summons her pals Isaad and Susan to tell them something important about her husband, Timothy. She manages to convince them and seeks their assistance in her plan. By chance, Isaad and Susan get to know Timothy’s side of the story and wonder if they have done the right thing in helping Annette. But wait, is Timothy what he seems? The incredibly handsome Timothy, peculiar Annette, nervous Susan and

perceptive Isaad (and the leaky tap) did a wonderful job, and Susan’s and Isaad’s characters deserve a special mention. The dialogues were amazingly written and wonderfully delivered. Just when you think you are on the brink of figuring out the plot, you’d be in for a surprise. We had to keep guessing till the very end, apart from laughing every now and then, to see if Annette’s ‘issues’ were a figment of her imagination or if they were real. The sense of timing in every aspect of the play was perfect. It was a delight to watch the play. You’ve got to give it to the cast and crew for executing the entire play in style.

Describing Grand Rehearsal as hilarious would definitely be an understatement. The play was an absolute laughter riot and was undoubtedly the best play of the evening. A drama by the ‘Mambalam Boys, Originally’ troupe is set to be reviewed by a critic, but the key performers are nowhere to be seen. With no alternative, the director decides to proceed with the members of the crew — the prompter, the tea vendor and so on. Whether he manages to pull it off and impress the critic, is what the play is about. Every member of the cast did a brilliant job, right from the director to the critic with a jolna pai. You could almost feel the director’s (of the troupe) helplessness when he tries to set things right, but everything goes horribly wrong. Even before you stop laughing for one joke, another would be thrown at you and you’d start laughing all the more. The hall reverberated with the audience’s laughter. There wasn’t a single moment of silence as far as I remember. It really seemed as if we were taken a few decades back in time. The live music of the troupe and the dance by the two beauties added to the entertainment. It was a job well done!

ASHWINI CN, Kodambakkam

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Printable version | Sep 18, 2021 11:58:54 AM |

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