Histrionics with your hummus?
Theatre is moving out of the confines of auditoriums and into a coffee shop or restaurant near you. The format that has gained popularity over the last year is slowly becoming the mainstay of stage performances in the city. Taking the art form to bistros, The Coimbatore Book Club (CBC) will stage two short Hindi plays at On The Go, deviating from their usual language of dialogue delivery - English. Their second performance in Hindi — the first being Bandar Ka Panja and Laawaris Bag in 2016 — Madhu Memsaab and Shaadi Ka Prastav are in response to a growing demand for Hindi theatre in the city.
Following the storylines of Thorton Wilder’s A Ringing of Doorbells and A Marriage Proposal by Anton Chekov, the plays directed by Monisha Mathur and translated by Sapna Maheshwar will be staged for the first time on November 28. “Each play takes about two or three writings to perfect,” explains Sapna on keeping the essence of the original story intact. The 60-year-old has been part of Coimbatore’s theatre scene for the last seven years and is known for creating modern renderings of classic plays — 3 Fat Women of Nilgiris based on The Three Women of Antibes by Somerset Maugham which was performed by CBC in September. Madhu Memsaab is a sardonic take on one of the seven deadly sins — envy, and takes up from Thorton’s script of A Ringing of Doorbells. A four-person play, the story is about a mother and daughter con duo who try to dupe the widow of an Army General.
Sapna plays the title character of Madhu Memsaab, wife of the deceased general, who, despite knowledge of the duo’s ploy, allows the game to be played instead of throwing them out or turning them over to the police. Incidentally, the play is one of Thorton’s unfinished scripts and has multiple endings. “We decided to take some creative liberty with the Hindi version and create our own denouement,” she shares.
The second play, Shaadi Ka Prastav, explores the genre of situational humour. The fast-paced, dialogue-oriented play features the characters of Neel who is prone to anxiety and hypochondria, Natasha, a stubborn and headstrong girl, and her father. “The theme is based on two people who are destined to be together because of their argumentative personalities,” says Somy Sridas, who plays the character of the father.
Both the plays are distinctly different — a format that director Monisha has followed even in the past. “It allows the audience to engage with a spectrum of emotion,” says the 51-year-old, who is a familiar face at theatre productions in the city. Hosted by restaurateur Ranjana Singhal, the dinner following the two 25-minute plays will be a pre-plated meal consisting of regular menu specials — spinach and cheese cigars, garlic bread with cheese and herbs, lasagne and walnut brownies.
Rs 499. Tickets available at On The Go, Cafe Totaram and That’s Y Food. Details: 4520116
Pic credits: A Raja Chidambaram