Rib-tickling comedy with an ingrained message

Act apart

Rib-tickling comedy with  an ingrained message

It’s that time of the year again when theatre lovers of the City are treated to an array of wonderful plays at the ‘Deccan Herald Theatre Festival’. The chosen plays not only have meaningful messages but also provide a platform to good talent. This season of the theatre fest kicked off with Clear Waters Media and Bangalore Little Theatre’s production, ‘Accidental Death of an Anarchist’.

Originally written by Dario FO during the 70s, the hilarious satire is based on a real-life incident that took place in Italy in 1969, where an anarchist jumps off the fourth floor window of the police headquarters, where he was being interrogated as a suspected terrorist. The play soon picks up after a few narrations when a character called Maniac, comes to the police station, and acts like a judge and makes them re-enact the entire story to catch the corrupt cops lying.

So was the death “accidental” or was the poor anarchist framed? These are just some of the questions that the play posed to the audience. It was the universality that made director Kishore Acharya choose a play like this one.

“It’s so important to have political consciousness, unfortunately not all of us are so. What people don’t realise is that you can ignore politics but politics can never ignore you. It was not the brutality of the incident that struck me but the brutality in the system, which still exists, that got me hooked. The play was written in the 70s but it still holds good,” he adds.

The play had all the elements to get the audience till the edge of their seat. There were gales of laughter occasionally as the combination of comedy and confusion of identity came forth. In fact, even during the interval, many were talking about what could happen next. Alexis, an expat from France, had come for the play with his friends.

“There are so many layers to the play. At every juncture, there is a new angle coming across. This is my first time to the ‘Deccan Herald Theatre Festival’ and I think it is a great play to start off with. FO was a brilliant playwright and it’s nice to see that the subject holds relevance even today.”

For many, it was the comedy that struck them the most. Shashank Purushotham’s portrayal of the ‘maniac’ was appreciated by all. His dialogue delivery and comic timing had one in laughter till the end.

Madhavi, a software engineer, says, “The play was hilarious. Though it had a deeper message, it really entertained us through many situations that the characters were put into.” 

Backstage, the cast had a mixed feeling. They were nervous about whether or not they would remember their lines and also how the audience would react to opening the festival with a comedy. Indumathi Manohar, one of the cast members says that comedy is a huge challenge. “The biggest challenge would be not to let humour overpower the dark message,” she adds.

Though a tad bit long, the audience were happy with the play and the performances, and welcomed the festival with a huge round of applause.

“This was the first time I have come for the theatre festival and now I am looking forward to catching more plays,” adds Madhavi.

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