Play on cancer relatable to many

Play on cancer relatable to many

The writer and director of ‘Monsters in the Dark’ talk about the making and reception of the play.

‘Monsters in the Dark’ not only talks about a cancer patient and their family and friends but also about what the doctors face.

Bangalore Little Theatre’s ‘Monsters in the Dark’ was staged over the weekend at Jagriti Theatre.

The play is a stage adaptation of Siddhartha Mukherjee’s Pulitzer-prize-winning book ‘The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer’. The non-fiction book examines the fatal disease — cancer.

Kavya Srinivasan

Playwrights Ravi Chari and Kavya Srinivasan turned the dense text into the play ‘Monsters in...’.

Speaking to Metrolife, Kavya shares the experience of writing a play based on a thought-provoking book.

She says, “’Emperor of...’ is a great text. We were familiar with it and thought it would be challenging to work on it.”

She says that the play is not a comprehensive summary of the book. The playwrights worked with St Johns Research Institute, Bengaluru to identify sections of the book that was relevant to use in the play.

Kavya shares, “It is just particular sections of the book, capturing the errors that took place in the history of cancer. We took about two months only to choose the sections.”

When asked the reason for choosing a topic on the critical illness, she says, “It is an important conversation. I am very connected to the idea that we must talk about more scientific and rigorous things that happen every day.”

She explains that they have tried a holistic approach with the play. She says that they didn’t want to make it a sad narrative and worked to “present it interestingly”.

Kavya noted that the book is so dense that two more plays could be written. So, when questioned if they were planning to work on a sequel, she says, “I would love to work on a sequel but not immediately. We have to let ‘Monsters...’ settle.”

Deepak Mote

Director’s take

Deepak Mote, one of the directors, speaks to Metrolife about how the play is relatable and more.

He shares, “A friend of ours fought through cancer. So, we were able to relate to a lot of what happened on the stage. Having done a few shows now, some people from the audience came to us and shared their stories and said how relatable it is.”

He adds that the play not only talks about a cancer patient and their family and friends but also about what the doctors go through.  

Deepak shares that they will also soon be performing ‘Monsters in...’ at the Tata Memorial Hospital in Mumbai. They also have a few shows lined-up in Delhi.

About the book

‘The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer’ is a non-fictional book written by Siddhartha Mukherjee, an Indian-American physician and oncologist.
It talks about Mukherjee’s experiences as a haematology/oncology fellow at Massachusetts General Hospital as well as the history of cancer treatment and research. The book was published in 2010 by Scribner and won the 2011 Pulitzer Prize in the general non-fiction category.

*‘Mosters in the Dark’ will be staged on February 27, 7.30 pm, Ranga Shankara, JP Nagar.