Passion through poise
As the Chennai-based theatre company, DJ Emsomneacks bring back Mahesh Dattani's Dance Like A Man as their latest production, it is safe to say that there is more to expect than the usual. The plot of the play, as we all know revolves around a dancing couple and their individual struggles in order to be able to follow their passion. “The theme of the play is an ongoing situation, at least in the Indian scenario which makes it a relevant topic to be discussed,” says the director Vikram S Vaidya while saying how amazed he was about how a play that was written back in the 1980s is still relevant today.
“We have been exploring various genres and were looking at working with some intense plays. For us, this seemed perfect since we wanted to explore the genre of drama extensively. Also, since the play has really strong characters, we thought it will be a challenging project for the actors as well,” says Vikram Dhanasekar, the founder of production house who is also one of the actors.
As they bring their version of what is considered one of the most popular Indian-English plays in the country, it stands out from the rest for many reasons. “We have tried to make this version of the play different than the usual by approaching certain scenes and its subtexts with a 'different than usual' treatment. Another unique aspect about the play is that professional musicians including a violinist, a mridangam artist, and a flautist will play Carnatic compositions live throughout the play while the characters sing and dance along,” Vikram shares.
The first part of the two-act play is set in the early 90s whereas the second part has a totally different generation in focus. “We have worked around the set design in a way that it works for both the periods, which in fact was one of the main challenges in pulling off this production. The director has closely worked with the costume designer to come up with a set of costumes that gives the feel of a typical Indian family,” says Vikram.
The story is portrayed by a four-member cast in a way that three of the actors get to portray two different roles each. “Although it is a hard-hitting play that discusses gender bias, societal pressures and stereotypes, there are also places where you can sit back, laugh and enjoy,” says Vikram while adding that the play will be taken to Bengaluru next.
Alliance Francaise, Jan 7, 4 pm and 7 pm