A hysterical comedy

Theatre festival

A hysterical comedy

The theatre scene in Bengaluru has not grown or diminished, it is stagnant,” opines veteran theatre artiste Bimal Desai. A major in Theatre Direction and Set Design, he will be showcasing the play, ‘Twice Around The Park’, written by Murray Schisgal as part of the ‘Deccan Herald Theatre Festival’.

    With two one-act comedies — ‘A Need for Brussel Sprouts’ and ‘A Need for Less Expertize’ — the play worships its original script as the director, Bimal Desai says, “I have not modified the original script as it is very relevant to the Bengaluru audience. They can relate to it in their own lives.”

Presented by Theatre Lab, Act one has a middle-aged stage actor hoping to get a role in a TV commercial for a pizza by playing opera on full blast in his apartment while pretending to be a tenor. Enters an irate lady cop who lives upstairs and intends to give him a summons for disturbing her peace.

They are both lonely and one thing leads to another. Coupled with witty dialogues and clever antics.

Act two of the play deals with a couple whose marriage is on rocks after 26 years. They have procured a self-help Hindu tantric audio tape designed to improve their spiritual awareness as a last ditch effort to save their marriage. The two hysterically funny scenes will be enacted by Priyanka Dasgupta, Salmin Sherrif, Hema Narayan and Ashok Mandanna.

Bimal, a known name in theatre for over three decades now, goes back in time and recalls his affair with theatre, “I started doing plays when I was in college. Later I joined ‘BLT’, which was the only theatre group then besides ‘Abhinaya’. In 1980, I started my own theatre company called ‘Theatre Lab’ and did ‘God’ by Woody Allen, which was directed by Mahesh Dattani (this was his first directorial venture). We had 16 people in the cast and they were all first timers.”

Moving on from the success of his first play, he then enrolled himself in the North Western University of Chicago, where he majored in directing and set designing. “Since then I have been giving many new talents a break into theatre and some of them have become movie actors.” However, he adds, “The commitment shown by the actors and backstage crew were very high then when comparted to what it is today.”

While the audience has always enjoyed the thrillers and comedies given by him, he says, “They (audience) have not grown proportionately for English theatre. Big scale productions which were happening in the 80s and 90s have stopped, as cost of production has shot through the roof and producers never make any money. School and colleges should encourage theatre in the form of interclass competition. This would generate interest amongst youth in a young age. Sadly, this is lacking today.”

After giving many hit plays to the theatre aficionados of the City after being a part of ‘Deccan Herald Theatre Festivals’, he says, “This platform is great as it reduces financial burden while keeping the focus on doing quality theatre.”

His plays will be staged at Rangashankara on February 5, Jagriti Theatre on February 6 and 7, and Chowdiah Memorial Hall on February 13. All the shows are at 7.30 pm.

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