A Sharp view

Ambika Shaligram
Friday, 19 January 2018

Chatting up Trishla Patel and Tushar Pandey, whose theatre productions are part of MCC’s Rang Mahotsav being held in the city next week

Chatting up Trishla Patel and Tushar Pandey, whose theatre productions are part of MCC’s Rang Mahotsav being held in the city next week

One play is an adaptation; another an original consisting of four stories. The Dumb Waiter and Chaar Small will be staged in the city next week as part of Maharashtra Cultural Centre’s Rang Mahotsav. Tushar Pandey and Trishla Patel talk about their respective projects...

Sounding quite excited about the fact that her eight-year-old production, Chaar Small is heading to Pune, Trishla Patel quips, “There are 25 of us in the play. We have Rajeev Kumar, Nivedita Bhattacharya, Sukant Goel, Mayur More and Sanjay Dadhich, who work in films and TV. I don’t know how we have managed to work through the cast’s TV and film schedule. But we have done it for eight long years! We are happy to be coming to Pune — it’s like a wedding party coming to the city — complete with original music and compositions.”

The four assorted stories are set in the Maximum City dealing with aspirations of small town people, a shape shifting khadda and the idea of ghar. Do Deewaney is a story by Purva Naresh, which is about a small town girl coming to Mumbai and falling in love. Sanjay Dadhich has written a story about Dadu Tiwari. It’s about a village kid, who comes to Mumbai and later as an adult decides to go back to his village. Laashting Impressions is about the pothole in front of a housing society and how the residents deal with it, while Ghar Ghar discusses the idea of home.

“The common thread connecting all the four stories is ‘bar’. The stories begin, emerge or conclude at the ‘bar’,” she says.

When asked about collaborating with Purva Naresh and Gopal Datt, who is the co-director of Chaar Small, Patel quips, “The second play, under my Tpot Production which I did, was a co-production with Purva Naresh, called Aaj Rang Hai. I was also acting in it. Purva had written the play and directed it with Gopal Dutt. So it was quite natural that I asked Purva if she had any short story that I could use for this production. And, she said, ‘Ya, I have something’. So I put it down and then Gopal said ‘I will direct it’. So I said, ‘fine’. It was as simple as that, because we are friends. In theatre, you  always collaborate. You can’t be separate from the rest of the theatre community.”

ST Reader Service
Chaar Small is Tpot productions play consisting of four original stories. It’s in Hindi and English. It will be staged at Jyotsna Bhole Sabhagruha, Tilak Road, on January 28, 7.30 pm

Order, order!
Tushar Pandey first read The Dumb Waiter four or five years ago. Harold Pinter’s writing blends comedy and drama; it has elements of betrayal and jealousy, which he enjoyed. But it was the setting of the story that piqued Pandey’s interest.

“The Dumb Waiter is about two assassins confined to one room, waiting for their boss to show up or to get his order to complete a job. While waiting, they realise that they are stuck in a hotel’s kitchen. They can’t move out, else they will be caught. Another feature of Pinter’s writing is that he would use lots of dialogue in some spaces, while there would be none in other space. I would say that lack of dialogue is what provokes a drama more,” says Pandey.

With a setting such as this, the director has worked on site-specific stage for the play when it opened in Mumbai. “The Dumb Waiter was performed in an apartment in Mumbai, because the play is very voyeuristic. We know that Ben and Gus, the assassins, are being watched over by somebody. So while the two actors are in one room, the audience is seated in another room, watching the play with the help of TV and CCTV cameras. In Goa, at Serendipity Arts Festival, where the play was staged, we completely revamped the PWD office. We broke down a few walls, installed 10 cameras and built a space where the performers were locked in a room and the audience was in a completely designed room, watching the performance on three huge television screens. But there was a space, where the audience, if they wanted, could watch it live. We want to do something similar in Pune, give the audience an experience of voyeurism,” he adds.

Like other works of Pinter, The Dumb Waiter too talks of societal hierarchy and class struggle, rather sharply.  “This play ends in a massacre of ideology, of perception, where a person who is never allowed or conditioned to question someone, has to deal with another person, who starts questioning. We do see this in our lives, in politics, with references to people in power. How many of us stand up and actually question even if we think something is not correct? So I think The Dumb Waiter is still relevant,” says Pandey, adding, “The play has also been translated into Marathi by  Dr Sumedh Kulkarni, and we plan to take it to smaller towns and cities in Maharashtra.”

ST Reader Service
Tushar Pandey’s Hindi play The Dumb Waiter will be staged at Jyotsna Bhole Sabhagruha, Tilak Road, on January 30, 7.30 pm



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