Gurgaon-based Behroopiya Entertainers brings to Chennai Ray Cooney's Run For Your Wife in an Indian context
Run For Your Wife, that premiered in 1983, is now being brought to Chennai by Gurgaon-based theatre company, Behroopiya Entertainers.
Funny Money, Out of Order, It Runs in the Family-British playwright Ray Cooney’s farces and its adaptations have always assured its audience a laugh riot. One of his longest-running comedies, Run For Your Wife, that premiered in 1983, is now being brought to Chennai by Gurgaon-based theatre company, Behroopiya Entertainers.
“Run For Your Wife is one of our earliest productions. We have done over 70 shows in the north in the last five years. Although it is a farce, this play is not a mindless comedy. The script is very well written by Cooney that it makes you think as well,” says Rishi Mehta director of the play and founder of the five-year-old company. The two-hour play tells the story of a bigamist taxi driver (Sabby Gill) who relies on adhering to a precise schedule in order to get away with having two wives in two different parts of the city. A head injury becomes the reason for his schedule to go awry, kick-starting the real trouble. The rest of the story is about how Sabby tries his best to keep his secret with a web of lies and fabricated stories.
“In the age of Netflix and all other digital platforms, people showing up to watch theatre itself is a big deal. So we choose scripts that are highly entertaining to the audience. We cater not just to the theatre enthusiasts but also people who don’t usually go watch plays. Therefore, the plays have to be generic in nature so that everybody is entertained,” says the 43-year-old director, who has been in the industry for over 20 years.
While in the original script, the story is set in 1970’s London, this adaptation that is brought into an Indian context is set in New Delhi. “All the names have been changed to suit the place and the British usages and puns have been replaced with Indian ones. We have also added a bit of Hindi, Bengali, Punjabi, and Haryanvi for a more local flavor,” shares Rishi.
When asked about the challenges that are involved in a high-quality comedy production, he says the most important part of it is the timing. “In this six-actor play, there is one person who is dedicated to making sure that the soundtrack is provided exactly after a punch line. If the timing is not right, the dialogues will fall flat and that will, in turn, create a ripple effect,” says Rishi, while adding that unlike a tragedy or a thriller the expectation of the artistes to get a response from the audience is more in a comedy. “We need to get the laughter, if we don’t get that, it’s difficult,” he adds
The story takes place between two different households and thus runs in two timelines. While the costumes used are contemporary, the set is built in such a way that it is divided into two different colours. However, there is no narrator who introduces the characters or explains anything to the audience. “The author here has assumed his audience is intelligent. They are empowered to think for themselves and figure things out throughout the play,” shares the director.
After Chennai, the play will be taken to Bengaluru and Hyderabad.
Tickets: `400 onwards
Sir Mutha Venkatasubba Rao Concert Hall