The ‘Deccan Herald Theatre Festival’ had quite a fascinating fare for Bangaloreans at the Chowdiah Hall over the weekend. ‘P.S. I Don’t Love You’, the 11th production by WeMove Theatre, was staged on Saturday while Playpen’s latest production ‘Gasping’ was staged on Sunday.
A romantic comedy, ‘P.S. I Don’t Love You’, revolved around a ‘perfect couple’, about to get married, but plotting ways to pretend to ruin it so that it makes for an interesting story to tell their kids. With the help of close friends, each one crazier than the other, they plan this self-cooked disaster in the hour-long performance. What was striking was the modern-day context and relevance of the issues — the complexity of love and cliches were explored, drinking sessions between bachelors were shown and the pre-wedding jitters were depicted in a very funny and honest light.
“Some of us are actually like the characters we played on stage. Though some of the older lot in the audience didn’t respond well, the youngsters seemed to connect and enjoy,” said Nagashree, the female protagonist. Rangaraj, her male counterpart, added, “We worked on this for five weeks and have thoroughly enjoyed the journey, especially the sessions with the director. It’s always interesting to explore new themes in theatre to keep things fresh. “It was a good attempt by the young, though very ‘techie-ish’.
The music and sets were nice and some of the actors were very expressive, but what I liked best was how it took advantage of the local flavour and mood of the crowd,” shared Sri Ganesh, an audience member. Abhishek Iyengar, the playwright and director, was quite pleased with the audience reaction. “This play was an attempt at making theatre commercial and accessible to all, not just intellectuals. I feel people had fun, though the audience was too scattered in the auditorium.”
A comedy packed with punch lines and power-packed performances, ‘Gasping’, originally written by Ben Elton and designed and directed by Ashish Sen, is about how corporate greed knows no boundaries. The play starts off with a wealthy businessman, Chief Lockheart, who tells his subordinates Philip and Sandy, to come up with a ‘Pot Noodle’, which is described as a product that creates its own market and makes money without fighting for money from other markets.
And the duo creates a machine that can give people ‘designer air’. The machine called ‘Suck and Blow’ will provide designer air to people of the niche class and this proves to be the marketing phenomenon of the decade. Private air turns out to be more in demand in enclosed spaces but soon enough Philip realises that the machine can actually be deadly to people. But that doesn't stop Lockheart, who tells Philip to make a ‘super sucker and blower’ that collects oxygen from under populated areas and that creates a bigger craze. The play started off with an interesting dance performance, which really caught the audience’s attention.
“Ashish Sen’s plays always have an interesting start. The last time he presented ‘The Open Couple’ at the ‘Deccan Herald Theatre Festival’, he had a young girl sing a song. Looks like he always likes to have an interesting start,” said Saira, a professional. The theatre was packed with youngsters. Many even found the character of Philip very impressive. “The role of Philip was a very challenging one to play and I think he really carried the play on his shoulders,” said Sharlet Alvares, a student. Her friend Chelsia Pinto added, “The play was de-stressing and even the concept was something so different and new. Who can ever think of selling air?”