Hyderabad-based theatre company Samahaara’s double bill of comedies will feature the best of Neil Simon and Tanikella Bharani

Director and founder of the ensemble Rathna Shekar Reddy reflects on his agriculltural roots that reinforce the depth of understanding he brings to storytelling  

Chokita Paul Published :  01st June 2023 02:00 PM   |   Published :   |  01st June 2023 02:00 PM
A scene from Gardabhandam

A scene from Gardabhandam

Hyderabad’s independent cultural venue Lamakaan will be a composite of Neil Simon and Anton Chekhov tomorrow. The Good Doctor, a play written by the acclaimed American playwright Neil Simon, made its debut on Broadway at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre in 1973. 

He created a ‘pastiche of sketches’ around various stories by Chekhov in which the characters enclose a hypochondriac, a struggling writer, a lovestruck young man and an overbearing mother. Hyderabad-based theatre ensemble, Samahaara will present a double bill of comedies including The Good Doctor and noted actor-playwright Tanikella Bharani’s Gardabhandam.

While theoretical knowledge and movements are integral components of training, director and founder of the ensemble Rathna Shekar Reddy underlines situational comedies and the role they play in developing an actor’s comic timing, subtext comprehension and understanding of humour. “The purpose of selecting these plays is to provide a practical application and perspective for the actors, bridging the gap between theory and performance. While directing these particular plays, all begins with the process of training the actors and moulding them up, both artistically and emotionally. From various exercises to character work, they have been through it all. My job as a director is then to make the actors understand the subtext and the essence of what the writer is trying to say through his writing and through each character,” he tells us.

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What makes Rathna’s story particularly compelling is his openness about the impact of his agricultural roots on his storytelling. He graciously allows us a glimpse into the profound consequence that his background have had on shaping his narrative style. A lot is revealed when he underscores what has set him apart and given him a distinct perspective on life and art. “My roots are in farming, as is my family’s and I had an entirely different childhood growing up and working on the farm. The journey of moving from there to New York and then establishing the culture of theatre in my city has shaped me in telling stories in my way. It has given me a means to work and train and mould actors and also get into the skin of any character that I play, due to all of the varied experiences I’ve had so far,” he shares. 

His artistic quests have encompassed eclectic mediums, including film, television series and most significantly, theatre, where he has produced nearly 200 plays, directed 90 productions, and organised over 250 theatre and acting workshops. In the theatre department, he cultivated his craft through extensive training in Method Acting at Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute in New York. Before this, he also bagged a Gold medal in MA (Theatre Arts) from the Central University of Hyderabad. 

INR 100. June 2, 8 pm onwards. At Lamakaan, Banjara Hills.

Email: chokita@newindianexpress.com
Twitter: @PaulChokita

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