Posts Tagged ‘review’

Theatre Review: “Credit Titles” by Bangalore Little Theatre, Bangalore International Centre, 210719

July 22, 2019

It was like a rare alignment of the planets: several factors come together to pull me out of my usual Ranga Shankara ambit for watching a play.

I had not been to visit Bangalore International Centre, which opened a while ago in Domlur; Bangalore Little Theatre, as part of their “VP 80” festival, was staging “Credit Titles”; the play, written by Vijay Padaki, whose 80th birthday the festival marks, was based on a story by Vinod Vyasulu, an eminent economist whom I’ve known for a long time, as our daughters share a cose friendship dating from 1988. And last but not least, my friend Raji Hari was going to see the 3.30pm show on Saturday, July 20, 2019. So off I went to visit the Centre, and watch the play.

The Centre is a beautifully constructed building, full of indoor/outdoor spaces, airy rooms and several levels of areas that can be hired and used for many purposes; I even enjoyed the plants and trees there. Perhaps because it is still new, there was no canteen open for us to get a snack or a coffee before after the play. This is the second time my friend and I are attending a play at a venue where no food and snacks are available; it does make a difference to our theatre experience if, at the end of a long drive to see a play, we cannot have even a cup of coffee or tea before after it.

The 180-seat auditorium, an even more intimate space than Ranga Shankara, was well-appointed, and seemed to have excellent acoustics; we settled down to watch the play. I must mention here that at no other venue except Ranga Shankara have I attended productions that start on time. On this day, too, the play started twenty minutes late, with an apology for the delay.

The play has an interesting background; I will dwell on it here,because it involves another famous Bangalore institution. Both Prof Vinod Vyasulu and Vijay Padaki were colleagues at the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore, and published work together, combining development economics and behavioural sciences. When Prof. Vyasulu wrote a short story about the question of intellectual property rights, mentioning that the Dunkel Draft international agreement might well be called the “Darkness Draft” because poor countries seemed to be in the dark about what such an agreement entailed, he asked Prof Padaki to convert it into a play. This was done, and the play submitted to the Hindu competition, recently instituted, for contemporary play scripts. Months later came the news that the play had won the award.

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The cradle of contention.

The play deals with one of several important issues arising from the Dunkel Draft. It isthe ethical-legal question of patenting life forms. In other words: who does life belong to? A couple has a baby using modern technological methods, but the question remains about this DTT (Designer Test Tube) baby…whose baby is it? The prospect of high revenue from this baby, whose genes have been customised for intelligence and success, leads several people to clamour for a share in the pie; a judge has to adjudicate in a matter where the social and the legal aspects overlap and intersect.

The scenes depicting the various issues developing around the “issue” ( a pun on both the child and the issues that his birth bring about) were well done, and there were many moments of both humour and deeper meaning. The dialogues were very meaningful. The cast brought out the ethical issues well, through the narrative, which goes from the couple’s home, where a maid takes an active role in their lives, to the doctor’s clinic, to the court of law where everyone noisily demands a share in the child. At last comes the 18-year-old human being, Vijayendra, himself, and the denouement occurs.

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The sutradharini with the technological miracle baby.

The stage design was quite elaborate, with several screens, and parts of the stage depicting the couple’s home, outdoor spaces, and the law court. Several wooden boxes, painted black, served as seats, or turned into the judge’s bench in a versatile conversion. A deck of cards, with a card game proceeding, brought others of the cast into the action. There was a lot of self-referential dialogue, with the sutradhar being changed into a “sutradharini”, with a male sidekick for a change; they, too, wove in and out of the story, commenting on the development of the play as it proceeded. As is usual in such cases, the couple who wants a baby also consults a godman; the religious, spiritual, ritualistic and scientific steps to conceive a baby went hand in hand.

The sound design was the best part of the play. The acoustics in the auditorium were excellent, and the dialogue was clearly audible (alas, so were the occasional fluffs!) The audience had no difficulty on this front.

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Much happens over a game of cards.

The lighting design did have some loopholes. Though, for the most part, the action of the play, and the characters taking it forward, were properly highlighted, there were times when the strong lights left a character’s face in shadow, even when that character was speaking. This is something that can be rectified by a member of the lighting crew sitting in the auditorium and watching the light effects carefully.

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The godman and the supplicant.

The costume design was excellent. Contemporary clothing, with ethnic wear for the sutradhars, sarees for the women and both formal and informal wear for the men, conveyed a sense of both the everyday nature and the earnestness of the topic at hand. Intellectual property rights may be decided in the refined heights of think-tank towers, but it is everyday people that they affect.

The placement, and removal, of various props (especially the black-painted wooden boxes) did take a little time, and though it did slow down the play, probably, with practice, this can be streamlined.

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All concerned demanding their legal rights.

In all, it was a production that has much promise; with some more rehearsals, and streamlining, it can be a lay that brings home to the audience the ethical and moral dilemmas that accompany today’s modern scientific and technological developments, and asks, in telling terms, what these mean in human terms. Can parenting be subject to patenting as well? is the question that the play raises.

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The 18-year-old Designer Test Tube baby with the two sutradhars.

Credit Titles, by Bangalore Little Theatre
Language: English, with occasional Hindi.
Story: Vinod Vyasulu
Playwright: Vijay Padaki
Direction: Archana Kariappa, Murtuza Khetty
Sound Design: Murtuza Khetty
Lighting: Murtuza Khetty ,Abhishek S.
Backstage: Aditya Nair, S Venkatesh
Makeup: Minti Jain
Cast:
Lalee/Laluram: Guruprerana Shabadi
Leela/Leelamma: Rashmi Vadavi
Ratna Kumar: Brinda Nair
Prabhat Kumar: Sanjeev Gadre
Mira Arora: Divya Krishna
Dr Ram Kapoor: Naveen Tater
Swami Anantanand: Anish Abraham
Judge: Shailesh Rudra
Vijendra Kumar: Jayaditya Parakh
Duration: I hr 20min, without interval
Tickets: Rs.200

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Cast taking a bow after the performance.

All photos by Deepa Mohan.

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Chidiyon ka pinjra, Ranga Shankara, 151114: Theatre review

November 17, 2014

found that

this review

has said it all equally well!

The only thing I have to add is that I am sorry that there was no brochure, and no introduction of the cast and crew…two things that always add to my enjoyment of a play.

Bade Miyaan Deewane: Play Review, 080614

June 9, 2014

here

is my review of the Hindustani play that I went to watch at Ranga Shankara yesterday.

Another excellent review is

here

The story of the play, as given by Ranga Shankara:

The play is essentially about a rich and eccentric octogenarian, who is used to a luxurious and flamboyant lifestyle. He is swept off his feet by a beautiful young girl in his neighborhood, who also happens to be the love interest of his son.

Meer Sahab falls for his neighbour’s young daughter. His son, Tabish, is also in love with the same girl and wants to marry her. Sheikh Sahab, on the other hand, wants his daughter to marry a dynamic man. Shaukat, a charming young writer, is an acquaintance of both Meer Sahab and Sheikh Sahab. Shaukat is a genuine well-wisher of Meer Sahab, who wants him to stop splurging his wealth on his tawaif (Heera & Gulab) and return to his good old days. Meer Sahab wants Shaukat to convince Sheikh that he is a great prospect for his daughter and at the same time, Sheikh wants Shaukat to counter Mir Sahab’s advances and teach him a lesson.

An enjoyable evening of folklore and children’s theatre, 230314

March 23, 2014

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Click here

to see my review of the evening (which was more than just the play), by Bangalore Little Theatre.

I’m glad I could show KTB a bit of children’s theatre in India!

2013….looking back

December 31, 2013

A fairly eventful, momentous year.
Some moments brought a tear.smile.
Many brought a smile.
Each phase lasted a little while.

There was the end of my ailing marriage.
The horse separated from the straying carriage.
There was the birth of my dear grandson.
I took care of him …and the elder one.

Grandchildren are one of life’s great joys…
Whether they are girls or boys.
I enjoyed the love of my daughter
And the joys that her life brought her.

I spent a lot of time in another home.
The baby kept me there…I didn’t roam.
I managed, through it all to click and write.
I was happy, I seemed to be doing something right.

I fought major issues in my mind, and life.
It was a time of very great strife.
Meditation and medication are seeing me through.
I still dip occasionally..and am blue.

I’m nowhere near where I want to be.
In the mirror I want to see
A much better person than I am now.
I will keep trying…that’s what I vow.

Here are my wishes to all of you, too.
I hope this year brings happiness to you.
I must say it gives me pleasure
To wish my friends…my greatest treasure.

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Theatre…nature….Citizen Matters…forests, snakes, and frogs…

September 17, 2012

A review of “An Evening with Anton Chekhov” by rafiki and TFA:

click here for the CitMat review

and about what I did last Sunday,

click here for the CitMat report

I do live a GREAT life, doing all the things I want to! Will post photos from my Goa trip soon…I hereby announce with great glee, that almost everyone in my group, except me, slipped and fell at various times during the trip!

You want a sneak preview of a Green Vine Snake eating a frog? Here’s my photo, the first on my FB album (will post the videos here later)

click here

“Stories in a Song”: Play Review

March 13, 2012

click here

to read the review of the play in Citizen Matters

After a long time, a book review…

November 25, 2011

I used to review books for the Indian Review of Books, long ago, in Chennai. Then I gave it up, for what reason, I still do not know…but after a very long time, another book review of mine, which I had put up in Citizen Matters, earlier,made it into print in the Deccan Herald,

here

Sadhana’s book is a very handy guide for those who want to know the names of common urban trees…and all that surrounds them!

“Crisis of Civilization: A Journey with Tagore”: Play Review

May 18, 2011

You can read it

here

“Just Look Up…” Book Review

May 11, 2011

It’s rare to find a book written for one city, that can be used as a ready reckoner for several others! But that’s the case with “Just Look Up….to see the magic in the trees around you”, a very handy booklet written by Sadhana Ramchander, and published by Blue Pencil Creative.

The book may be aimed at children…but it is very useful for adults, too, who’d like to look around them at the common trees in the cities.

Many “handbooks” or field guides are rather unwieldy to take along with one on one’s outings; especially if they are hardbound. Sadhana’s book is a slim volume…and it lists the common trees that can be found, not only in Hyderabad, where she lives, but in almost any Indian city or metro.

The book starts with a foreword by Bittu Sahgal, the editor of Sanctuary Asia, which makes the very important point that trees are not “things” but a form of life.

An introduction suggests that apart from the usual children’s occupation of going on the internet or using cellphones, they could also look at the trees around them…and segues neatly into introducing the first tree on Sadhana’s list, the Kadamba.

A list of twenty-two trees….with scientific names, and lovely, clear photographs, not only of the trees themselves, but of the leaves, the flowers, and sometimes, objects and jewellery made from them (as, for example, ear drops made with the seeds of the Coral Bead tree)..makes very interesting reading indeed.

Set in at intervals in the list, is the “Poetry and craft” section. Children do love to create things with their own hands, and suggestions as diverse as little models made from Gulmohar buds and broomsticks, or a mustard-sprout “smiley”, are given with clear instructions on “how to”.

Towards the end of the book is yet another unusual page, which says, “Before you look up, you actually look down”…and shows photographs of the petals of various flowers from the trees, that spread out in a carpet on the ground, prompting you to look up into the trees themselves. And in addition, are some illustrations of the other interesting things one sees when one looks down, a and here, and there…and observes!

The illustrations and artwork by Kobita Das Kohli, Aiman Eshana, Malini, Poojitha, and Rahel are delightful and add value to the book.

There is a very good bibliography and “further reading” and “things to do” section, too, for those who would like to take their interest further.

The book ends with a graphic “calendar” of the flowering of the trees. This particularly resonated with me, as I live in Banglaore, where the “serial flowering” of the trees, planted with forethought by the Dewan of Mysore State, Sir Mirza Ismail, and a team of eminent horticulturists (including
Gustav Krumbiegel and Marigowda) is a great feature of the city.

What I liked about the book was the fact that it is printed on such good quality paper. This will ensure that though taken on frequent outings, the book will last. The typeface and fonts chosen,too, and clear and easy to read. The proof-reading of the book has been excellent.

This kind of quality of publication, of course, comes at a cost, and the book is priced at Rs. 175. But I feel that this is a small price to pay, to give into a child’s, or adult’s hands, a book that they will find very useful indeed, and will awaken their interest in the wonderful beings who are, as Sadhana says, ” give us something or the other all the time, but ask for nothing in return.”

Another thing I particularly liked was the author’s freely-given permission to reproduce any part of the book for non-profit educational purposes as long as the author is properly credited.

I would strongly recommend that all Bangaloreans buy this book for their children…and for themselves! Perhaps, with more awareness, the present Bangalore craze to cut down trees in their thousands to create broader roads for more polluting traffic to go through, will ease off….!

“Just Look Up…to see the magic in the trees around you “

By Sadhana Ramchander

sadhana@bluepencil.in

with a foreword by Bittu Sahgal.

Photographs, unless otherwise credited, by the author.

Published by Bluepencil Infodesign

http://www.bluepencil.in

Price: Rs.175, 60 pages.
Printed at Pragati Offset, Hyderabad

http://www.pragati.com

Available online

here

(though it says the book is out of stock, it is available)