Light-hearted story makes a telling point

To be precise, there is no elaborate story. It is just an incident that spirals as actors on stage indulge in dialogues and conversations.

Revolving around two married couples, the play Couple Trouble is a comedy of 70s and 80s that is presented in its original form in 2014.

Directed by Vikas Bahari the play, adapted from Marathi playwright CP Deshpande’s Aankh Micholi, opened the recent Summer Theatre Festival of Films & Theatre Society.

It was supposedly a comedy that depicted sexual fantasies of hypocritical men while exploring the changing values of marital relationships in the 20th century that was knocking the doors when the play was first penned.

For the so-called elite audience at Sri Ram Centre, the story had sufficient content to hoot at. But for a theatre lover, it is the simplicity of the issue that demands attention and appreciation. The curtains rise revealing a simple set of a house. The audience observes the photographs of a boxer hung up on the walls as two voices are heard.

 A man and a woman enter and their relationship unfolds as old college friends who meet in a mall and revive the long-lost attraction towards each other.

 While Ajay (played by Lalit) is shown as a sly person who expresses a subdued desire for extramarital relationship, Naina (enacted by Shakti Singh) presents the character of a welcoming simpleton. 

Both try to be their best, but Lalit appears restrained in action and keeps delivering mugged up dialogues. It is only after the entry of Naina’s husband and CBI officer – Ramesh Thakur (ably depicted by Rahul Bucher) that the audience gains interest in the following sequence of events.Rahul’s ability to not just pretend but ‘be serious’ like an investigative officer wins hearts and adds depth to the comic element.

As the action shifts to another house and Ajay’s wife Sandhya (Parnika Jain) enters the plot, things spice up but only to a certain extent before one realises that the play is over.

In the first act, the conversation between Ajay and Naina, later joined by Ramesh Thakur, maintains the crescendo smartly than in the second act. This proves the potential of the script at hand which could have been directed better. The technique to play with ‘action-reaction’ is dealt with in an intelligent manner by the director.

There is also a dance sequence in the performance, where lights dim and set the mood. But is it really required? May be, keeping in mind the 70s audience.

But undoubtedly, the icing on the cake are the ‘dialo­gues’ that arouse laughter no matter who delivers them and how. Even Rahul needs a special mention for the real-life boxer adds only the required amount of acting to the performance and stands out as an extraordinary actor or to say the dark horse.

Especially in this case, since comedy is not everyone’s cup of tea!

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