This weekend, join Samahaara on a laughter ride as they perform The Last Wish Baby
In the past few months, the media has received a lot of criticism for sensationalising news for running content. It’s this very subject that well-known theatre personality Rathna Shekar Reddy tries to interpret in his multilingual play, The Last Wish Baby, a satirical take on media and its foibles.
Adapted from American playwright William Seebring’s play, The Original Last Wish Baby, the story revolves around an infant who is miraculously born without a heart. The baby survives and the paparazzi is driven into a frenzy. Strangely, the heart is delivered by another mother in New Delhi. The drama unfolds on stage as the two mothers fight for ownership of the baby involving media, celebrities and the judiciary.
Rathna Shekar shares that the story has been tweaked to make it contemporary by including issues from the current scenario while retaining the essence of the conflict. “Although the original is based on capitalist America, we’ve tried to suit it to our local audience. It’s just the basic theme that has been taken,” he says, adding that the treatment of the play is an illustration of the present media and political culture. Spoofs of a few daily soaps and live coverage of media are some of the segments woven into the original script to create hilarious moments.
For the first time
This one-act play will see a cast that includes 15 debutant actors who were a part of the workshops conducted by the City-based theatre group Samahaara. Rathna Shekar, co-founder of the group, says that he prefers casting first timers for his play, especially when he chooses to stage a satire like The Last Wish Baby, as he believes that they are more flexible and open to learning. “I also think that comedy is the right genre to start off with when you enter the field of acting. Plays like this open up opportunities for them.” He adds that the new set of actors bring in fresh ideas and improvisations, making it better each time.
However, what stands out about this drama is the perfect blend of elements from a street play presented to the audience in a usual one-hour stage show format. The play is performed in a minimalist fashion, with no props and simple costumes. “Throughout the play, all the characters are on the stage, playing double and triple roles sometimes. They don’t necessarily change costumes. It’s more like a longer street play. For instance, if a man has to act like a woman, he’ll just wear a dupatta,” explains Rathna Shekar.
Ticket: Rs.100. At Phoenix Arena (Saturday) and Lamakaan (Sunday)