Sunday, 7 August 2022

"The Zoo Story" staged in Mumbai (Khar) by Jeff Goldberg Studio on 30.7.2022

 "Mind that you are an animal and not a vegetable"

The world is like a zoo that is full of various kind of animals, man is one of them. All animal interact with each other in some way or other. So it is not a surprise if the relation between two different animals goes to any extent.  Though the settings in which this play moves may be highly obnoxious to the audience with a conservative bent of mind as far as normalcy in sexual behavior is concerned one should know that the behavioural aberrations shown is just intended to invigourate the theme of social disparity. It is certainly not a sex story. Once you get cosy with this point the play is a prize for your intellectual eyesight.

A mid-aged gentleman Peter comes to the park and perches on a bench to relax. Soon, a younger man Jerry enters the park who is desperate to communicate with someone. On the contrary to Peter's normal life with wife and daughters Jerry's life is scrappy. So stark is the difference between both that they seem to be the two opposite poles. Jerry protrudes his conversation into the calm of Peter who condescends to respond.

Jerry calls Peter a vegetable as he thinks, no animal can live in that highly structured and stereotyped manner. The disparity emanates from all angles- economic, social, moral and family-conditions. The teen-aged Jerry says it is unbearable for me to spend two nights with the same girl. Moreover he insinuates that  other things can also substitute a lover girl and even more  preferably. He keeps on spitting fire with his monologue onto the vulnerable Peter. Peter somehow bears all the nonsense hoping Jerry will stop his chatter. 

Jerry says he lives in a highly congested, too small and unhygienic shady room. He keeps on giving the ghastly details of how he has been misused by the ugly old misbehaved landlady on routine basis. Also, how the landlady's pet dog tries to take a toll on him everyday by chasing him like a drunken lustful man behind his wife. Once he tried to poison this obstinate creature but to no avail. 

Peter feels abhorrent and wants to keep himself aloof from these rubbish details. But he can't. He is put under such a compulsion that he himself witness a heinous crime of murder committed by his hand.

The plot fascinates for it's unconventional storyline. The playwright Edward Albee has used uncanny symbols. The bench is not just a bench, it is the life-space of the society from where a complacent gentleman is ousted giving way to the deprived one. The knife is not just a knife it is a Freudian symbol. Every viewer was aghast when Jerry popped out his knife, waved and threw it on the ground. But soon it was clear that he is not going to kill Peter and rather ... .?? To get pierced  by someone on one's own belly with a knife actually signifies to a psychoanalytic. This is proved by the fact  that Jerry is screaming not in grief but with a satisfaction.

The director Kashyap Shangari had successfully turned a two-men play into a double-role solo acting. Moreover he seemed to be in full rage by making his only female actor to play both diametrically opposite male characters at a time. And the actor Swagata Naik carried it out. Her countenances, postures and voice-modulation went well with a despotic character searching for his own existence in a vast weird world called society. The killer's instinct kept oozing out her eyes incessantly just conveying "I too exist with some zoological desires. I am certainly not a plant without a mind and heart". The other character of a civilised gentleman had comparatively less to show still a justice was done with this passive character too that was essential to intensify the vigour of the other main character. The solo actor enacted that also in a natural way thanks to her director's instructions. The set-design was ok.                
Article by - Hemant Das ' Him'
Send your response to hemantdas2001@ or                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

Sunday, 24 July 2022

"Dada ek good news aahe" - Marathi play staged in Navi Mumbai (Panvel) on 17.7.2022

"I want to give birth to my child" 

"I want to give birth to my child" - if a woman states, who on the earth has power to stop her? Nobody even not her most loveable and only family person, the elder brother can. May she be merely a college girl or even when she is still unmarried. The point is not whether the pregnancy hither is recommendable or not the point is whether a woman has a right over her womb or not. "Dada ek good news aahe" raises this most pertinent social issue in perfectly an emphatic manner. 

Namita, a college girl of just 18 is living with her elder brother Vineet in a metro city who is a brilliant commerce student and is on the verge of completion of his CFA course.  The brother-sister bond is awesome and both respect each other.  As they come from a conservative family, the free ambience of city allows them to make friendship with others without any regard to gender. One day, Namita reveals before her brother that she has tested positive in the pregnancy test. Vineet is furious and really in a fix. He does not know how to deal with it. He asks her who is responsible for her pregnancy. She says there is a boy in the college who is in love with her.

Vineet finds himself it the midst of a maelstrom. He pleads to his sister for abortion  but she denies. Then he begs to his sister's lover to marry the pregnant girlfriend, but the boy shows his inability to do so.  After all, they all belong to a conservative middle-class family. What people will say? How will they show their face in the society? 

But with their grit and high level of understanding the duo of brother-sister is able to come out of the mess in an unexpected manner but with a happy note. This was never an easy move and it demanded a big sacrifice. As the staging of this play is continued till date so I am not going to divulge more on the script..

The script is vivid and astonishingly realistic. This is a real-life situation and thanks to the guts of the writer it is presented actually in that way only. There is absolutely not an iota of casualness or preaching mentality that you could trace. The director has done his work aptly and the actors lived up to his expectations. It seems that it might have been originally thought to be comedy show which turned into an intense serious play. The magic is that the thread of comedy has not given way to the sobriety of the subject. Both mode of comedy and seriousness travels in tandem so that an extremely grave issue is communicated without being burdened. So you learn a very difficult lesson while just getting entertained. The set-design was pragmatic in the sense that it showed all the upstairs, the hall, kitchen, drawing room all at a time. The focused light-management could have added more value to the presentation.

The actor playing Vineet has stolen the show. The height of the brother's embarrassment seeing an untimely pregnant sister was genuinely reflected in his nervous but trying-to-nerve-up body-language and accent.  The unshaken stance of Namita was quite impressive. Namita's lover's facial expression and body-postures were quite in-tune in keeping the comedy alive and the girlfriend of Vineet lived her character with adequate responsibility.

The play was presented by Sonak Production and it's Priya Bapat. It was directed by Adwait Dadarkar and the writer is Kalyani Patare. Those who acted were Umesh Kamat, Arti More, Ashutosh Gokhale and Mruga Bodas. 

Article by - Hemant Das 'Him'
Send your response to - /
** The drama team may contact us through email if they want to replace the photos with their good quality pictures.

Sunday, 10 July 2022

Mystique's Open Mic event in Navi Mumbai (Belapur) on 9.7.2022

 We are now claiming, our rightful grounds
(A report)

A throng of the hearts throbbing with creative instinct was the scene of the verandah of The Hotel Park, Belapur CBD (Navi Mumbai) in the evening of 9.7.2022. They were not just neophytes rather a mix of all- fledgling, to-be-seasoned and aficionados. And so all the stages of the evolution of an artistic persona were on display. Upholding the sprit of pluralism in media, form and content,  some were singers, some were poets, some were comic performers. Not only this, there was at least one flute-player and one beat-boxer too. Even singers were of different genres - classical or movie and so were poets - romance, love, women liberty and patriotism. The whole event was captivating no one will think of missing out. 

A stand-up performer left everyone laughing by revealing a truth which was something like "..the bathroom is the best place to deliver a speech as at least, the wall has no liberty to go out". Ameya Kumar brought tears to the eyes of everyone by reciting a song of recently departed popular soul, K.K. - "Dard may bhi ye lab, muskura jaate hain / Beete lamhe hame jab bhi yaad aate hain". Kavya Patil presented a English song. Ishwaran was a master performer of this day whose flute cast a spell on all listeners. He was more disposed to show his mettle in classicals though people also loved his flute translation of "Ye moh moh ke dhage".

Ms. Jasmin was an impressive torch bearer of women's liberty. Her words raised a whole host of pertinent points related with struggle fought by the half of human population. She was able to fill all women with new strength when she stated, "We are done with dusting, all your doubts/ We are now claiming , our rightful grounds".  Her views reminded a burning issue of woman race who is largely underpaid and underestimated. So she says that " Woman can have it full". Nisha Shanwal was a new poet who presented a poem - "Adhuri si iss zindgi ko, tum ne pura kiya/ Mere adhure khwab ko/ tum ne apna liya"

Sneha Jacson has a sweet tuneful throat and an outstanding command over rhythm so we hope for her good future in singing. She recited songs of Shreya Ghoshal - "Mere saason ki jhankar ho tum" and "Jaise ho waise hi aa jaao/ Shringar ko rahne do". Saurabh Dash stunned everyone with his beat-boxing skills. 

Abhishek Tiwari had the capacity to change the mood of the whole gathering and took it to the patriotic feelings - "Ham us Hindi ke vanshaj hain, jahan Meera ne ras dhala ho/ Ham us Hindi ke vanshaj hain/ Jahan 'Bachchan' ki 'Madhushala' ho". He also declared that "Yug koi aaye ya jaaye/ Prem shashwat hi rahega"

Vipin presented a Kishor's song, "Tum hi to laye ho jivan me mere, pyar, pyar, pyar". The event was deftly compered by Indrashish Maulik. Vikram and Juberia on behalf of 'Mystique' were the key persons in the organiging team. 

Report by - Hemant Das 'Him'
Send your response or suggestion to -