Creating a special space for aces

Creating a special space for aces

Wondering what is happening with the theatre scene in Delhi? Keep wondering, for the capital of drama has shifted from Mandi House to India Habitat Centre with ‘Old World Theatre Festival 2012’ showcasing works of stalwarts.

The 11th edition of the theatre festival recently kicked off with Mahesh Dattani's Where did I Leave My Purdah. The writer created a marvellous script by incorporating a tale of drama company stuck in the trauma of Partition along with references from Kalidas’ Abhijanana Shakuntalam.

The story is woven well but its representation on stage was unable to create a similar impact. Nazia (played by Lilette Dubey, also the director) is an 82-year old woman who draws contrasts between cinema and theatre, “This van is too small for me, cinema is too small for me, only theatre deserves me.”

 The play immediately shifts to a workshop where she auditions youngsters for her new musical, Shakuntala, a revival of her act staged in 1947 Lahore. The director's ability to project past and present on stage, impressed her audiences but the wrong positioning of lights and abrupt sound disappointed many.

Rage Production’s The Bureaucrat presented a real taste of comedy. Directed by Rahul da Cunha, the play narrated life of a bureaucrat who lets go of everything for a promotion. The minister fails to do as per the promise and the bureaucrat turns honest. The comic timing and satires targeted the rampant corruption in the country and were portrayed excellently by experienced actors like Buga Bhargava Krishna (who played the bureaucrat). An out-and-out political satire the script subtly deals with issues of relationship, honesty and sub-consciousness.

Chinese Coffee by Danish Husain was staged in Stein Auditorium. It is a story of two friends and the loss of their friendship. One of the protagonist was to be played by Vrajesh Hirjee (but who is now in Big Boss house). Danish informs, “It wasn’t a last minute change because Vrajesh told me about the offer from Big Boss when we were staging this play in August. I thus started looking for a replacement because I couldn’t have taken the risk hoping for Vrajesh’s elimination. So I finalised on Aamir Bashir.” And his choice surprised the audience for Aamir has tested his skills in cinema.

Talking about the curation of the festival, Vidyun Singh, director, programmes says, “The fact that we have an enthusiastic response shows that there is an appetite for good theatre. We try to bring the best plays by stalwarts in the industry to the festival but this is not possible without committed corporate support.”

While the organisers are looking for support, the audience must keep a look out for Nandita Das’s directorial debut in theatre with Between The Lines and other plays that are on till October 21.