A tragedy of errors

Real Life

Taking a slice of reality and mixing it with unusual incidents was the play ‘Guilty As (Not) Charged’ by Mad Hats Theatre, which was held at Alliance Francaise recently.

It tells the tale of a bubbly girl who moves from Mumbai to Delhi and dies under mysterious circumstances.

While her parents Mr Awasthi (Nirmal Sekhar) and Mrs Awasthi (Medini Mangala) are battling their own thoughts about the death of their daughter Vidya (Aneesha Ummer), others like Vidya’s best friend Piyali (Dhanya Menon) and friends Aakash (Gautham Narendran) and Tushar (Sushant Khanna) also try to figure out if their doings could have led to the mishap.

This original play makes the audience take a closer look at life and is an ode to the urban middle class of today.

The actors did a great job at taking the viewers through a tumultuous ride of emotions that left one surprised at every turn. Be it the devout mother Mrs Awasthi or the staunch businessman Mr Awasthi, who trades his priorities for money, Varun the brother who’s always paid lesser attention than Vidya, the nosey neighbour Mrs Aggarwal, who believes that her intervention is divine; the audience is able to connect themselves to each of the character.

The setting of the play, which showed the interiors of an apartment, were well done. The mixing of scenes from the past and the present to create a deeper effect were appreciable too.

The director of the play, Puneet Gupta, said, “The concept came to me about two years back but we started rehearsing the play only in December 2013. After our last play, which also had a message but used satire and black comedy, we wanted to do a different subject.”

He said that the response for the play was overwhelming. “Most people related to the complexities of relationships and the abstract concept of guilt affecting someone’s life, of how we end up hurting the people we love the most and more. We wanted to create a ‘tragedy of errors’ and I feel we succeeded in that,” he said.

The audience was awed by the performance of the actors and the theme. “The emotional chord that the play touched was very easy to relate to and almost everyone must have gone through some or the other variance of such an experience,” said Ashwati M, a theatre enthusiast.

She added that while many theatre productions might have tried to explore similar topics, none that she saw till now was so gripping.

Others like Anupa Sen felt that the theme of how even death is trivialised and made into a commodity by the media and others was well conveyed.
“Most of us would feel connected to many scenes and dialogues since it was life portrayed as it as,” she said.

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