Masquerade’s Total Moonsense, an adaptation of James Thurber’s Many Moons is a comedy with political overtones
Princess Lenore of Lenoress Town falls ill. She insists that her father, the King, brings her the moon so that she can be well again. The King goes on to consult the wisest men in his courtroom — but to no avail — so that he can grant his daughter’s wish. Despairing, the king goes to the court jester, who gives him the best solution. This is the plot of American author and playwright James Thurber’s classic short story, Many Moons.
Throw into the mix, a bumbling prime minister, goofy royal magicians, royal mathematicians who can’t get their numbers right, an Indian astrologer and some Bollywood stars — that’s how the story has been adapted for Masquerade’s upcoming play, Total Moonsense.
“We wanted to put together a play that both children and adults can enjoy alike, something that is inclusive and takes you back to the days of fairytales. So we extended the short story and made it suitable for a full-fledged performance,” says Masquerade’s Krishna Kumar, who wrote the script.
“We have brought in some political overtones and contemporary references in the play. We have a prime minister, a town crier, an opportunist — all the elements needed for a political satire. The play is for all age groups. Even though there is satire, there are no innuendoes. It’s a clean play,” shares KK, adding that the play could go on for an hour, with audience interaction.
The play uses improvised contemporary costumes such as modern clothes with capes, crowns, wands and such. Expect to find a sari-clad fairy, princess in denim and a king with a crown, but no royal robes.
“It’s not a periodic play. In fact, we have tried very hard to stay away from making it one. We wanted it to be funny and also interesting as a story. It does have slapstick humour but not to the extreme that adults can’t enjoy it. The script is narrative and has been devised and adapted to a neutralised English version for the younger audience. At the same time, we trimmed down the slapstick nature of it and added more contemporary references to make it interesting for adults,” says Shrivatz Agharam (known as Steve in theatre circles), who’s making his directorial debut with the play.
Apart from Krishna Kumar (who plays the role of the manipulative prime minister) and Steve (who plays the jester), the 10-member cast of the play has Masquerade regulars like Abhishek Ramabhadran, Aravind Subramanian, Ashvi KS, Pranav Diwakar, Priyanka Sankaran, Shubh Mukherjee, Utshav Raj, and Varsha Varadarajan.
May 25. At CurioPlay, Alwarpet.
5 pm & 7 pm. Tickets available online.
— Fathima Ashraf