'Theatre gives actors a second chance'

On stage

The year marks the 400th death anniversary of one of the world’s most celebrated playwright, William Shakespeare, for whom “All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players”, and actor Imran Zahid says, “What better way to remember him than through the medium of theatre itself.”

“Which is why,” he continues, “We decided to work on a theatrical adaptation of the Bard’s Two Gentlemen of Verona, a play which has not really been adapted for stage.”
Titled Do Deewane Sheher Mein, the romantic comedy which has been written by professor Danish Iqbal and presented by filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt, is a story of two friends — Valentine and Proteus — and deals with the themes of friendship, love and infidelity.

“The play is not a direct adaptation, and changes have been incorporated to suit contemporary audience. While the basic storyline is same, we have cut down on the characters,” says Zahid, who plays Valentine’s character in the production.
The actor, who has starred in Bollywood movies like Jannat 2, tells Metrolife that he “recalls real life instances” to add emotions and depth to the characters he plays.

“I try to analyse and understand how I would react or have reacted to a particular situation in real life. And it is that emotion or thought that I try to incorporate in my acting to bring the character alive. And since this play is about two friends, that helped a lot,” he says.

The artiste, whose tryst with the world of theatre began during his days in college, has previously acted in the theatrical adaptation of Iraqi journalist Muntadhar al-Zaidi’s book, The Last Salute, based on him throwing his shoe at former US president, George Bush; and Daddy, a production based on Bhatt’s 1989 movie.

“As compared to films, theatre is a better medium as it involves continuity; you get to perform without a break. However while shooting for films, actors are expected to shoot the same scene over 10 times with the same kind of expressions. Also, despite shooting continuously for about five minutes, you realise that the final shot is only about 30-seconds long. But this is not the case in theatre, where you know the length of your role,” he explains.

Describing theatre as an “actor’s medium”, Zahid says that it gives artistes a chance to work and enhance their performances.

“In theatre, while switching from one emotion to other or one character to other in front of a live audience, you might falter. Or there can also be technical glitches. So, here, unlike in movies, you can always work on the feedback and your own observations, and give a better performance next time. So it would not be wrong to say that theatre gives actors a second chance,” he says.

Do Deewane Sheher Mein will be staged at the Stein Auditorium, India Habitat Centre, on April 23.

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