‘Office Policy’ explores office dynamics with live music for an interesting twist

A musical comedy, the story for this one-hour long play has been on writer-director Tanvi Srivatsan’s mind for quite some time now
A scene from the play
A scene from the play

Six people in an office, bound together, well, by the office setup, are bringing you a day from their lives in Tanvi Srivatsan’s Office Policy. “Actually, it’s only half day from their lives, time they spend in the office,” Tanvi, who has written and directed this play, tells us. There are old employees, a new recruit joining on the day the story is set in; there’s also a clerk, and there’s the boss. “It begins like a normal day in office where you have your highs and your lows as work goes on, but not much is getting done. And then, everything changes when a piece of paper that wasn’t meant to be read, is read. What happens next is a series of twists and turns,” Tanvi shares.

As we grow curious to know more, she says smiling, “What that piece of paper entails holds the plot together, so I don’t want to divulge details.”

A musical comedy, the story for this one-hour long play has been on Tanvi’s mind for quite some time now. “It all began when I started working. I recently graduated and my work life is completely different from what I thought it was going to be. I thought every day would be about getting tough jobs done. But what I see now is that there’s a lot of waiting, contemplation, need for approvals, and a lot of mistakes. When I meet friends and we share stories about our office lives with each other, I realise that in the end, what matters is ‘office policy’, and this so called ‘office policy’ does not mean one particular thing; it can be anything, it can be any rule or anything that controls our lives at workplace; and whether we like it or not, we definitely can’t break free from it,” Tanvi says.

A scene from the play
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Adding live music to this play is an interesting element, where audiences will see the characters break into songs when they are trying to make something about themselves known. The songs are penned by Tanvi herself and the music arrangement is by Suraj NC. In fact, the names of the songs say a lot about what one can expect. Office Dynamo is sung by the newcomer when he joins office and it is about the changes he wants to make to the office space. Should I quit? explores the dilemma of a ‘saturated employee’, where she is done with her life in the office but is still questioning ‘should I quit?’ There is a song titled Office Policy, where the audience will actually understand what the play is about. It is sung by the boss as he ponders over the different office policies that exist and why they seem so absurd! There is also a rap titled Unnaku Enna Tripthi — an exchange between an old-timer in the office and a saturated employee because they are so frustrated with each other’s style of working. At the end of the play comes a song titled Yes Man, sung by the people pleaser, who is so done with everything and everybody, and is no longer willing to bow down to anyone’s needs.

A scene from the play
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Before we leave you to get your tickets for this play, let’s tell you one more interesting thing about it. None of the characters in the play are referred to by names. Also, in this office setup, there is no clarity as to what job is being done and who is assigned what task, because Tanvi says, “I want every single person watching this play to relate to it.”

Letting us in on the music arrangement, Suraj tells us, “Tanvi gave me a lot of freedom to work on the music. I am a fan of the 70s rock era, so I took a lot of inspiration from there. We have incorporated not just the basic piano element but also a bit of R’n’B, pop and put all of them together to create an amalgamation, which people will really enjoy.”

This play is being produced by Creashakthi as a part of Crea-shakthi's Spotlight Initiative. 

Tickets at Rs 270.

May 25, 6.30 pm. May 26, 3.30 pm.

At Medai – The Stage, Alwarpet.

Email: rupam@newindianexpress.com

X: @rupsjain

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