Join Bilbo Baggins' adventure this week, with Chennai's very own production of The Hobbit
As the city gears up for an exciting production of The Hobbit, we chat with the director and writer of the play, Shaan Katari Libby.
It took Shaan Katari Libby a blockbuster trilogy, a trip to New Zealand and a technicolour wave of inspiration to bring Bilbo Baggins' vibrant and prodigious adventure to the theatres in Chennai. The story of The Hobbit is definitely one that you are familiar with. It is that of a respectable hobbit pilferer trying to steal back a treasure and gets mixed up with 13 particularly mangy dwarves in the process.
Backed by A to Zee Creativity, the play which is all set to enthral our minds this Thursday and Friday, is currently in the midst of rehearsals. This definitely proves to be an entertaining task, considering that all the dwarves are played by kids, between the ages of 9 and 17. “It is absolute mayhem at rehearsals and the kids are having such fun with it! Kids are wearing beards and running around with plastic knives,” Shaan smiles, who is directing the play. Guest appearances as giants will be played by adult actors and high court lawyers. “It’s got all the classic elements of a drama. We’ve inserted elements of humour, little bits to get the audience laughing, so it won’t be too dark,” Shaan says, adding that the play can be enjoyed by anyone above the age of 10.
The sets and costumes of the play have quite the global ethos to it, as some of it Shaan picked up on her travels to London, while parts of costumes are being shipped from America. The costumes are managed by Tehzeeb Katari. “I’m not giving away too much about the sets, but they are going to look good!” Shaan laughs excitedly over the phone. “In some cases, we have had to spray paint some of our swords and axes because they were neon and the like.”
Converting a three-hour movie to a play was a challenge that Shaan took up with ease. “I finally understood why Peter Jackson took three films to tell the story,” she laughs, elaborating on the difficulties of fitting it all in a single play. “There are certain bits we have had to omit entirely because we couldn’t fit it all in.” The script, which Shaan wrote herself, stays true to the text and retains Tolkien's language style.
On October 4 and 5, at Museum Theatre, Egmore.
Tickets available online