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Wacky all the way

MANIC MOMENT Artistes caught during a tense scene

MANIC MOMENT Artistes caught during a tense scene  

`Room No. 13, Block No. 14' was a hilarious play staged by Sutradhar

It's hard to make people laugh, more so if you're clowning about on a prop-bare stage with half a dozen other artistes doing their own thing. Comedy is all about timing. This fundamental principle of rib tickling is what the Sutradhar School of Acting put into practice on Saturday at Andhra Saraswat Parishad, when participants in its acting workshop staged the play Room No. 13, Block No. 14.

Adapted from the Marathi Play Aaliya Bhogasi (One who comes here suffers), the play unfolds in the backdrop of a lunatic asylum. A ward boy who makes a mess out of reading the address of a patient mistakenly brings protagonist Vinay Varma, a sane man, into the asylum.

Even as Varma (played by Umesh Dua) cries himself hoarse and tells the deranged inmates that he isn't mad, they carry on with their insane capers, at times oblivious to the sane man in their company while at other instances jeering at him for being a "mad man". Towards the end of the play, the protagonist is rescued by his would-be father-in-law who visits the asylum in his capacity as the health minister.

Wacky dialogues and uninhibited acting by all the artistes brought out the crazy side of each character quite expressively. The maniacal characters included a nutty professor, a character artiste who switched roles from an emperor to that that of an alcoholic time and again, a railwayman forever announcing arrivals and departures of trains and a Bollywood hero among others. Barring an odd fumble or two for words, each character's eccentricities were well portrayed by the actors.

There were many humorous situations that raised laughs from viewers, among whom were quite a few children. Played by Sunil Chandurkar with �lan, the Bollywood hero mouthing nonsensical dialogues in the voices of marquee idols Amitabh Bachchan, Dharmendra, was a hit with the audience.

Vijay Varma as the ward boy, Anil Sharma as the doctor, Avinash Agarwal as a tailor, Junaidullah as the railwayman, Netaji Biradar as a reporter (from Bheja TV), Mushtaq Ahmed as the character artiste and Vinay Varma as the health minister excelled in their roles.

The play was translated by Anant Kulkarni and was directed by Vinay Varma and Prof. Bhaskar Shivalkar. Among the audience was former finance minister Yashwant Sinha and his wife, who looked like they quite enjoyed the show. Shooting as the anchor of a programme for a prominent news channel, Sinha later interacted with the audience for his commentary on the theatre scenario in the state.

K. SACHIDANAND MENON

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