- Prithvi Theatre



- Prithvi Theatre
Vol. XIII Issue 1
Janki Kutir, Juhu Church Road, Juhu, Mumbai 400 049
January '12
Pg 1, 2 & 7 Centre Stage with Ramu Ramanathan
Pg 3 Reflections
5 What’s On in January
Pg 6 & 8 Backstage at Thespo
Satyadev Dubey, the most endearingly controversial man of theatre, passed
away on 25th December 2011.
His love for theatre was infectious and his stubbornness to constantly keep
creating, regardless of age or illness, was inspiring. He guided and challenged
everyone he met through his 50-year journey in theatre, and we will all miss him
terribly. Goodbye Dubeyji, the Prithvi Cafe seems desolately empty without you.
engagement with the social and
political processes that shape our
He is one
of the few
playwrights to have a collection
of his plays published. Orient
Blackswan and EFL are publishing
an edition titled 3, Sakina Manzil
And Other Stories, edited by
Lakshmi Chandra.
The collection will feature:
Shanti, Shanti, It’s A War, The Boy
Who Stopped Smiling, Curfew,
Mahadevbhai (1892-1942),
Collaborators, 3,Sakina Manzil,
Shakespeare And She And Jazz. In
conversation with Karishma Attari,
Ramu Ramanathan discusses the
language of both playwriting and
political protest.
Centre Stage
with Ramu Ramanathan
In an age of big brands and
packaged entertainment, English
playwright Ramu Ramanathan’s
productions are soapbox theatre at
its best. Impromptu conversations,
music and verse, and public
speaking come together in his
work to create a form of theatre
that is progressive, socially charged
and politically conscious. His
writing is eclectic. His children’s
play titled The Boy Who Stopped
Smiling is in the grips theatre
tradition of asking “why?” in a
world ruled by adults. His rock
and roll freewheeling student
production Yaar What’s The Capital
Of Manipur is a musical without
a script born out of collaboration.
His Mahadevbhai (1892-1942) is
a one-man monologue, a researchbased historical documentary
type of drama. What remains
constant across his work is a deep
KA: On what basis were the eight plays
selected for 3,Sakina Manzil And Other Plays?
RR: The basis for selection was simple –
that they should have been performed and
published in English. I would have liked to
include 3 Ladies Of Ibsen or Tathasthu plus
my early one-acts but that would have made
the book very bulky.
KA: A play is a shared experience between
several agents, but a book of plays is a
solitary thing, Comment.
RR: The text for Mahadevbhai was a working
text that Jaimini Pathak worked on. Since
he and I knew each other, plus I knew I
was directing the piece, there were no stage
directions nor defined stage spaces. When
I started proof-reading Mahadevbhai for the
collection I found longish paragraphs in the
text. On stage, there was a clear demarcation
of space and the audio and actor's gestures.
But how do you communicate this to the
reader? You put little codes, which signify
these things. And thereby break it into units
and sub-units so there is a visual break in
the reader's head. That's it. Anything more
and it would confuse a director who may
want to stage it. KA: In theatre we generally talk about the
language of production and the subject of
plays. But what is the language of scripting
a play?
RR: I start with a pool of actors who I
know are going to play this out. With
each play, except Collaborators I knew
the cast – Mahadevbhai, 3,Sakina Manzil,
Cotton 56, Polyester 84, Jazz, etc. And so,
I am working within the strengths and
limitations of the individual performer’s
talent. Nagesh Bhosale was a singing actor
who has emerged from the Lok Natya
background and his character embellished
Bhau Saheb. Similarly for 3 Sakina Manzil,
contd. on pg 2
Centre Stage contd. from pg 1
Jaimini or Suruchi Aulakh spoke
the lines with poise and a sense
of lost history. Most of writing is
commissioned – I have a deadline – a
Prithvi fest or the Humara Shakespeare
Fest for Shakespeare & She. As a result,
the “I may” is eliminated; and "I will"
write a play.
KA: What are the technical tools?
RR: In my case it's precise – I see the
rehearsal in process – and I could get
inputs from an actor, which is handy.
Suruchi in 3, Sakina Manzil made a
comment about a ribbon collection. For
me, this became a character prop for
her character Shashi. If the suggestion
comes from the actor – I usually use
it – because I feel actors tend to enact
those bits better. Then there’s a Medha
And Zoombish Ii or Yaar What’s The
Capital Of Manipur where there is no
script. The production emerges through
collaboration and workshopping. I like
doing that. Working with young minds;
and see where the mayhem and anarchy
will take us. In Curfew – there were the
characters of the two twin brothers at first,
the Peepal tree wasn’t there. Then a guitar
player, Manoj Agarwal walked into the
play– so Jaimini and I designed a very agitprop Cabaret type play in which the Peepal
tree sang some really cool songs.
KA: So the starting point for you has been
an actor ...
RR: Yes, a real person. If an actor is
multilingual you add flavour. That’s why
plays I’ve written have been productions
which I directed. It's easier. All the codes
are in short-hand. Plus people who work
with me like Jamini Pathak and Mohit
Takalkar know Beckett's over-arching
influence on me or my occasional homage
to Satish Alekar. You don’t need to spell
these things out.
KA: How do you begin your work?
RR: I like to read the play, the first few times
to close friends – this gives the listener an
opportunity to look into the play. Plus I've
my own method of breathing, and how to
pronounce a line – or explain why a scene
was written etc. This is like Shaw's preface
but not as bombastic. Then the play script
is left to the director; and I exit.
KA: How was the process of writing
Collaborators unique to you?
RR: It started off a stage play. It was
converted to a radio play for a BBC
competition and then back to the stage. I
went through four drafts. Normally my
work is deadline-oriented and my play is
ready in the first draft.
KA: This was the first play you’ve written
without having the actors or director in
Ramu Ramanathan at a workshop with Aasakta
Mumbai is a dying city. But
she is a lover who gives you
so much. Most of my stories,
are inspired and besotted by
the life in this city which is
both cruel and beautiful.
RR: There was a period in my life when I
used to attend a lot of social evenings. The
conversations, reminded me of what Arthur
Miller said – that it would be fantastic to
record 100 hours of conversations at
the entrance of subway station. I realised
conversations in India have a beginning and
a middle but there’s no big finale, no end
to a conversation. I wanted to mimic the
incompleteness of conversations on stage. I
was copy-editing industry magazines. While
transcribing interviews I used to listen to
people’s conversations and realised that
people generally don't make sense. Whether
it's an industrialist talking about sales tax
or excise regulations or a hot-water bottle
manufacturer explaining the manufacturing
method. That everyone rambles. I’d listen
to my tape recorder and find elliptical
sentence, no punctuation marks, loops of
repetition. I began to think about it, and
tried to put that on stage.
KA: And how did the play evolve?
RR: This was around the time the Babri
Masjid was destroyed. The idea that one
significant edifice of Indian civilisation
has come to an end struck me. I realised
there are mini-destructions with a modern
home but we don’t know when the minidestructions happen. I believe, the end of
modern India will take place in a 3,000 sq/
ft flat and ...
KA:... it will end with a whimper not a bang.
RR: Yes. My focus was: Modern India died
at 6.29 pm one evening; and while it died
no one realised it; since they were too busy
sipping their red wines and discussing the
new trout flown in from Norway.
KA: What does a playwright need to know?
RR: I began largely as derivative I drew
on mythology with Curfew and Shanti
Shanti It’s A War (and I've returned to that
in 2011 with Comrade Kumbhakarna). So
the references and characters are a given.
Family and friends see The Boy Who Stopped
Smiling as autobiographical; they say that
about Mahadevbhai too. I don't agree. But
the point is, there's only so much you can
borrow from your own life.
KA: Where should the playwright learn to
be a playwright?
RR: In my case, I moved into researchbased plays that people tell me are boring
documentaries and less of drama. The
thing is, I’m a journalist. That's my training.
My starting point is primary data – meeting
people or key contacts. My secondary data
is my background research. I read up a
bit and then I do my own investigations.
Meeting people in real time and space is my
backbone. But the ultimate test is whether
the play works on stage.
KA: What is your ritual as a writer?
RR: I sit down and finish it off in one go. I
have my notes and references around me. Its
complete chaos and I become obnoxious. In
my head, I structure the play: divide it into
fun bits and other sections that have to be
written. And then you pace yourself. I make
a conscious effort to switch off the phone,
g-chat and doorbells. I try to stop reading
so that it doesn’t covertly influence me. I
steer clear from newspapers and magazines
which tend to give you a contrived sense of
KA: What do you miss?
RR: I miss the fun of being a first-time
writer, the willingness to jump off the edge.
The thing is, to pace your writing. To let
the words leap off the page. That is crucial
contd. on pg 7
‘[marana rSaId ka
kmara¸ ijasaka
80¸000 ka hO’
gaaopala jaI nao mauJao
PTNotes ilaKnao ko
ilae nahIM kha¸ bailk maOMnao ]nasao kha ik maOM ilaKnaa
caahta hUи date tao nahIM imala rhI¸ kma sao kma [samaoM
ilaK tao sakto hOM.
cailae ApnaI Sau$Aat krta hUÐ ‘ekjauT’ sao .
laaoga NSD sao hOM¸ FTII sao hOM AaOr maOM ek jaUinayar
‘ekjauT’ sao hUÐ,¸ naaidra maODma ka Saaiga-d.naaidra maODma nao
iqayaoTr BaI isaKayaa AaOr ijandgaI BaI¸ saca maoM vaao isaKae
na isaKae ]naka saaqa Apnao Aap maoM ek saIK hO ifr
vahaÐ sao inaklao tao Akvarious ko saaqa kama ikyaa tao
‘namak imaca-’ banaa¸ ijasao ilaKa maOMnao AaOr pvana nao¸ AaOr
[email protected] ikyaa sauimat AaOr iSavaanaI nao .
maoro $ma maoM C: laaoga rhto hOM ­maOM¸ pvana¸ f$K,¸ EaI
dova jaI AaOr piva~ao. hma laaoga iksaI na iksaI ga`up ko
saaqa involved rhto hOM¸ caaho vaao Akvarious hao¸
ArNya hao¸ AarmBa hao¸ AMSa hao¸ TPot hao¸ ArpNaa
hao¸ Rage hao yaa Motley hao. saBaI ga`up ko baaro
maoM KUba gossip hmaaro $ma maoM haotI rhtI qaI. sabakI
baura[-yaaи samaIxaa AaOr tarIf krnao ko ilae hmaara $ma
AD\Da saa bana gayaa qaa¸ @yaaoMik yah $ma caar baMgalaa¸
mhaDa maoM hO tao iksaI iksaI naa ga`up ko laaogaaoM ka Aanaa
jaanaa hmaaro $ma pr rhta hI hO¸ caaho vaao Aaidla hao¸
saMjaya hao¸ saaOrBa hao yaa raGava hao.
yah saba gossip tao cala hI rhI qaI ¸ ko yaUM hI
baataoM ko baIca maoM ek baat inaklaI ik hmaoM BaI ek
ga`up banaanaa caaihe¸ maOMnao kha “Abao pagala hao gayaa hO
@yaa¸ mauJao ga`up nahIM banaanaa¸ AaOr naaTk hI tao krnaa hO
vaao tao hma iksaI BaI ga`up ko saaqa kr sakto hOM”¸ KOr
A still from Rangbaaz's Bade Miyan
baat hu[- AaOr K,%ma BaI hao ga[-¸ laoikna [sa baIca hma saba
ko daost imalao pvana jaI ¸ ]nhaoMnao hmaoM writing ko ilae
baulaayaa¸ tao [tnaI writing krnaI pD,I ik iqayaoTr
haqa sao CUTta naj,ar Aayaa¸ tao maOMnao kha ik “mauJa sao
nahIM hao rhI writing” tao vaao baaolao “tao @yaa krogaa”
maOMnao kha “iqayaoTr”¸ baaolao “iqayaoTr krogaaÆ” maOMnao kha
“haÐ Ñ” vaao baaolao “iktnao pOsao lagaoMgaoÆ” maOMnao kha “yahI
kao[- ek DoZ, laaK kma sao kma” vaao baaolao “basa” maOMnao
kha haД AaOr ]nhaoMnao pcaasa hjaar ka caok kaT kr
do idyaa.
Aba maOM AaOr pvana saaocanao lagao­Aba naaTk kaOna
saa kroMgaoM AaOr khaÐ po kroMgaoM. yah baat maOMnao Apnao
$ma maoM sabakao bata[- tao saba laaoga baaolao­“@yaa kh rha
hOÑ maOMnao kha yah rha caok”¸ f$K, baaolaa 'bauD,Basa'
krto hOM¸ SaaOkt qaanavaI ka naaovala hO. ifr @yaa qaa¸
pvana¸ f$K AaOr maOMnao naaovala kao naaTk maoM tbadIla
ikyaa. EaI dova baaolao maMO sasto maoM saoT krvaa dUMgaa¸ maora
jaugaaD, hO .
ifr pvana AaOr maOMnao imala kr ga`up ka naama
rKa ‘rMgabaaja’.
bahut Dr qaa ik kOsao haogaa¸ AakYa- AaOr puvaa- sao
baat kI¸ vah baaolao hao jaaegaa¸ ifr irh-sala BaI Sau$
hao ga[-¸ naaTk BaI tOyaar hao gayaa AaOr rMga Saarda maoM
opening BaI hao ga[-. ifr baat ]zI ik saoT khaÐ
rKa jaae ­$ma maoM @yaaoMik gaaodama ikrae pr laonao kI
AaOkat nahIM hO. Aba jaao BaI Gar Aata hO pUCta hO ik
­yah @yaa hOÆ hma khto hOM ik yah ‘baD,o imayaaÐ’ ka saoT
hO AaOr yah hmaaro $ma ka interior BaI hO ijasaka
Kca- 80¸000 hja,ar $pyaa hO¸ yaanaI interior khnao
pr $ma¸ gaaodama nahIM lagata AaOr $ma maoM Aanao vaalao khto
hOM ik interior bahut AcCa hO¸ eosaa hmanao khIM nahIM
doKa AaOr Aba ‘flasafa’ ka saoT BaI hmaaro $ma ka
interior bana cauka hO¸ jaao ikyaa hO Qanaond` nao¸ tao
Aba hmaaro $ma ka interior hao gayaa 1 laaK 20
hja,ar ka.
maoro [sa naaTk AaOr ga`up kI Sau$Aat sabako sahyaaoga
sao hu[- AaOr mauJao ehsaasa BaI nahIM huAa kI ga`up calaanaa
iktnaa mauiSkla kama hO¸ bahut sao laaogaaoM kao mauiSkla
Aaja jaao duinayaa maoM laD,a[- hO vaao
BaaYaa kI hO AaOr ek baat maOMnao pZ,I
qaI ik iksaI kaOma kao K%ma krnaa hao tao
]sakI jaubaana ³BaaYaa´ kao K%ma kr dao¸
vaao kaOma Kud hI K%ma hao jaaegaI
lagata haogaa¸ laoikna hmaoM nahIM. pRqvaI iqayaoTr
pr Aaja naaTk ka jaao mahaOla hO¸ vaao Saayad phlao
sao j,yaada Aaj,aad #,yaala AaOr saba ek dUsaro ko
sahyaaogaI va samaqa-k hO¸ saba ek dUsaro ko naaTkaoM maoM
madd krto hOM¸ Agar kao[- naaraj,a BaI haota hO tao vaao
naaTk kI Balaa[- ko ilae hI.
mauJao lagata hO Aaja phlao sao j,yaada AcCa
iqayaoTr hao rha hO AaOr dSa-k BaI p`SaMnaIya hO.
sabasao baD,I baat yah hO ik jy,aadatr laaoga Kud
Apnao naaTk ilaK rhoM hOM AaOr [saI vajah sao
saaih%ya maoM AaOr naaTkaoM maoM ek nayaapna AaOr taj,agaI
hO¸ Saayad yahI [sa pIZ,I kI ivaSaoYata hO ik laaoga
samaJa rho hOM ek dUsaro kao.
doiKe ivacaaraoM kI laD,a[- tao hmaoSaa sao rhI hO AaOr
[saI laD,a[- ko baIca sao naaTk pnapto hOM AaOr nayao ga`up
banato hOM. hr ga`up kI ApnaI ivacaar Qaara haotI hO. ek
baat AaOr khnaa caahUÐgaa ik ivacaar tao sabako AcCo haoto
hOM laoikna maora eosa maananaa hO ik qaaoD,I saI lacak haonaI
caaihe ¸ dUsaraoM kI baat maananao kao ilae. [samaoM kao[Sak nahIM ik ijatnao laaoga Aaja kama kr rho hOM vaao saba
vaak[- Apnao kama kao jaanato hOM. jahaÐ pRqvaI nao saalaaoM
sao ihndI rMgamaMca kao baZ,avaa idyaa hO¸ vahaÐ NCPA jaOsaI
saMsqaa BaI ipClao idnaaoM maoM kafI Aagao Aa[- hO¸ dIpa jaI
nao ihndI rMgamaMca kao NCPA maoM jagah dI hO¸ AaOr eosaI
vaOsaI nahIM AcCI KasaI¸ @yaaoMik jahaÐ ihndI samaJanao vaalao
haoMgao vahI [sa BaaYaa kI jagah kao BaI samaJato hOM¸ AaOr
jahaÐ tk BaaYaa ka savaala hO¸ Aaja kI tarIK maoM
ihndI rMgamaMca BaI baohtr huAa hO AaOr AcCo laoKk
BaI saamanao Aae hOM.
Aaja jaao duinayaa maoM laD,a[- hO vaao BaaYaa kI hO
AaOr ek baat maOMnao pZ,I qaI ik iksaI kaOma kao K%ma
krnaa hao tao ]sakI jaubaana ³BaaYaa´ kao K%ma kr dao¸
vaao kaOma Kud hI K%ma hao jaaegaI. ApnaI BaaYaa
kmajaaor naj,ar AatI hO @yaaoMik hma Kud AMdr sao
kmajaaor hOM. BaaYaa Apnao ivacaaraoM kao [email protected] krnao
ka maaQyama hO AaOr hr BaaYaa ]tnaI hI p`BaavaSaalaI hO
ijatnaI kI kao[- BaI BaaYaa. Aaja kla doKnao maoM Aa
rha hO ik ihndI naaTk ka AalaoK hmaoM dovanaagarI na
hao kr roman maoM imalata hO¸ yaanaI ihndI samaJanao
ka maaQyama AMga`ojaI hao gayaa hO tao yah Aapkao saaocanaa
hO. maOM yao nahIM kh rha hUÐ ik yah galat hO¸ Agar
Aapkao ihndI eosao samaJa AatI hO tao eosao hI sahI¸
[samaoM kao[- Kraba baat nahIM hO¸ maOMnao tao Apnao ivacaar
[email protected] ikyao hOM¸ [sa BaaYaa kao lao kr @yaaoMik mauJao
ihndI AatI hO¸ maOM @yaa k$M ¸ mauJao pta hO ik [sa
baat sao kuC laaoga naaraja, haoMgao¸ tao [samaoM naaraja,
haonao kI baat nahIM hOM¸ jaao baat maOM kh rha hUÐ vaao
Agar galat hO¸ tao Aap hI bata[-e @yaa sahI hOÆ
Plays for the Month of January 2012 at Prithvi Theatre
Sun 1
5 pm & 8 pm
Writer & Director: Nadira Zaheer Babbar
A mega musical … a walk down memory lane for those who’ve grown
up watching films of the 1950s.
Tue 3
9 pm
[email protected]: Zero budget Production's:
9 pm
Writer: Sunil Tambat & Aniket
Director: Aniket Patil
A humorous and poignant look at the phenomenon of chance vs. fate,
and everything in between.
Wed 4
Thu 5
9 pm
9 pm
Developed by: Shanta Gokhale &
Irawati Karnik
Director: Sunil Shanbag
Exploring the controversial issues of morality and censorship.
Fri 6
Sat 7
6 pm & 9 pm
5 pm & 8 pm
Developed by: Shanta Gokhale &
Irawati Karnik
Director: Sunil Shanbag
A musical collage of theatre, literature, and history.
Sun 8
Hindi /
Mon 9
7 pm & 9:30 pm
Rage's Writers' Bloc-3: Rage's
Writer: Akash Mohimen
Director: Rajit Kapur
Bihabund is being displaced by machines, mines and industrialization;
Birsa struggles to fight for his land with an ailing grandmother, an
accursed bride and…gulps of Mahua.
Tue 10
7 pm & 9:30 pm
Rage's Writers' Bloc-3: Quaff Theatre's
Writer: Irawati Karnik
Director: Nayantara Kotian
There is an urge to create; a need to survive; and then there is
Wed 11
7 pm & 9:30 pm
Rage's Writers' Bloc-3: The Orchid Room Experiment's
Writer: Ayeesha Menon
Director: Zafar Karachiwala
In this bittersweet comedy, Vincent Pereira takes on developers who
want to demolish his Bandra chawl to make way for Asia’s biggest
shopping mall.
Thu 12
7 pm & 9:30 pm
Rage's Writers' Bloc-3: Rage's
Writer: Abhishek Majumdar
Director: Richard Twyman
The story of two children stranded in the tragic impasse of Kashmir.
Fri 13
7 pm & 9:30 pm
Rage's Writers' Bloc-3: Aasakta Kalamanch's Pune
Writer: Sagar Deshmukh
Director: Pradeep Vaiddya
A glimpse into the lives of an average middle class home and what
happens to their lives when the father, the head of the home, cannot
provide for their daily needs anymore.
Sat 14
7 pm & 9:30 pm
Rage's Writers' Bloc-3: Akvarious Productions'
Writer: Siddharth Kumar
Director: Akarsh Khurana
A story about a boy with strangely special semen. And two women
who will do anything to get some.
Sun 15
7 pm & 9:30 pm
Rage's Writers' Bloc-3: Aarambh's
Hindi /
Writer: Purva Naresh
Director: Rabijita Gogoi
A dedicated filmmaker, a brazen but difficult sex worker, a rogue of a
trucker and a village where nobody and nothing comes for free...
Mon 16
7 pm & 9:30 pm
Rage's Writers' Bloc-3: Evam's, Chennai
Writer: Shekinah Jacob
Director: Karthik Kumar
A keyhole view into the lives of three women with a shared past that
unites them, yet threatens to destroy them…
Tue 17
7 pm & 9:30 pm
Rage's Writers' Bloc-3: Natak Company's Pune
Writer: Dharmakirti Sumant
Director: Aalok Rajwade
This play is not a play. There is no make up, music cues, plot, story,
acting or set. You are cordially invited to explore the Real.
Wed 18
7 pm & 9:30 pm
Rage's Writers' Bloc-3: Dramanon's Bangalore
Writer: Swetanshu Bora
Director: Swar Thounaojam
Set in the city of Bangalore, this is the story of Three lives. Two failed
love stories. One apartment. One night. One decision.
Thu 19
7 pm & 9:30 pm
Rage's Writers' Bloc-3: Rage's
Writer: Annie Zaidi
Director: Faezeh Jalali
If anyone can solve the mystery of the missing engineer in Mohagaon,
it is police constable Gopal. But once he finds the truth, what’s he
going to do with it?
Fri 20
7 pm & 9:30 pm
Rage's Writers' Bloc-3: The Tadpole Repertory Delhi
Writer & Director : Neel Chaudhuri
Set in North Delhi and Gurgaon, this is the story of Partho and Adil and
their fractured love affair across two poles of a changing metropolis.
Sat 21
6 pm & 9 pm
Akvarious Productions'
Writer: Hassan Abdulrazzak
Director: Akarsh Khurana
From cosmopolitan London to war-ravaged Baghdad, this is the tale of
three friends, torn between two worlds, and of one wedding that goes
horribly wrong.
Sun 22
11 am
Akvarious Productions'
English /
Writers: Adhir Bhat, Susan Cinoman,
Apoorva Kale, Siddharth Kumar, Pete
Malicki, Michael Puzzo
Director: Akvarious Productions
Potentially offensive. Painfully hilarious. A collection of contemporary
comedies. Strictly for adults only.
Writer: Miro Gavran
Adapted by: Purva Naresh
Director: Hidaayat Sami
This play journeys through five interweaving stories and structures its
findings in an unusual way.
Sun 22
5 pm & 8 pm
Akvarious Productions'
Writer : K.P. Saxena
Director: Om Katare
A humourous play by K.P. Saxena.
9 pm
Writer: Dr. Kusum Kumar
Director: Om Katare
A hard-hitting play on Government bureaucracy & red-tapism.
6 pm & 9 pm
Writer: Vasant Kanetkar
Director: Om Katare
The story is one out of those million little birds who know no
Fri 27
9 pm
Writer: Dr. Kusum Kumar
Director: Om Katare
Much hilarity and confusion prevails when a village production of the
ramleela goes horribly wrong!
Sat 28
6 pm & 9 pm
Writer: Vasant Kanetkar
Director: Om Katare
A Hilarious look at the generation gap within a family.
Sun 29
11 am
Writer & Director: Om Katare
Story portrays the eternal struggle of good v/s evil and finally good
triumphs over evil and other hurdles, to come out shining.
Sun 29
6 pm & 9 pm
Writer: Dr. Kusum Kumar
Director: Om Katare
Much hilarity and confusion prevails when a village production of the
ramleela goes horribly wrong!
9 pm
Writer: George Bernard Shaw
Director: Naseeruddin Shah
A collection of three short pieces by George Bernard Shaw whose
rapier-sharp wit and unique insights make for a stimulating, sparkling
evening's entertainment.
Wed 25
Thu 26
Tue 31
[4th Tue]
Open-mic @ Prithvi Café
[email protected]
[2nd Sat]
Literary encounters
Sat 14 | 6:30 pm | Prithvi House
The Expanded Studio:
An Assemblage of Practices
Across disciplines -- whether in the visual arts, performing
arts, film, music, or literature -- the classical definition of
the studio as a place of solitude and retreat has undergone
a process of transformation in recent decades. As artists
engage with public space, collaborative projects, aleatory or
distributive assemblies of making, and other amplifications of
practice, our understanding of what the studio means must
also undergo a corresponding change. In the 14 January 2012
session of [email protected], poet, cultural theorist and curator
RANJIT HOSKOTE and architect, educator and urban
theorist KAIWAN MEHTA will lead a discussion on this
complex and fascinating subject, invoking examples across the
arts and introducing the audience to readings around it.
[email protected]
[Last Mon]
Documentaries and short film screenings
Mon 30 | 7 pm | Prithvi House
A Documentary by Amudhan R.P.
A campaign documentary documentary film maker and media
activist Amudhan R.P. about the plight of the environment,
and the ex-workers affected by mercury pollution from
Hindustan Unilever's thermometer factory in Kodaikanal.
More than 30 workers have died and several tons have been
discharged in and around the factory; But the company
refuses to take responsibility.
A Documentary film by Weijun Chen
7 pm & 9 pm
Tue 24
[email protected]
Why Democracy ? Please Vote for Me is a portrait of a society and
a town in through a school, its children and its families.
Wuhan is a city about the size of London located in central
China. It is here that director Weijun Chen has conducted an
experiment in democracy. A Grade 3 class
at Evergreen Primary School has their first encounter with
democracy by holding an election to select a Class Monitor.
8-year-olds compete against each other for the coveted position,
abetted and egged on by teachers and doting parents. Elections
in China take place only within the Communist Party, but
recently millions of Chinese voted in their version of Pop Idol.
The purpose of Weijun Chen's experiment is to determine how
democracy would be received if it came to China.
FREE unless mentioned otherwise.
Home Delivery:
3989 5050
Online booking:
Tue 24 | 7 pm | Prithvi Café
You are invited to recite, declaim, sing, dance, perform
in any way you like 2 minutes of your own work.
Sign up at the Prithvi Café at least 30 minutes before
start time to be eligible.
Chai & Why?
[1st Sun]
TIFR creates accessible discussions of
interesting scientific issues
Sun 1 | 11 am | Prithvi Theatre
Why this Cola Very Di? - Fizziks and
Chemysteries of Soft-Drinks!
Prof. Arnab Bhattacharya, TIFR
The fizz in soft drinks arises from carbon dioxide dissolved in
water. Lets look at the science of soft drinks through some fun
experiments! Join us for a bubbly New Year’s special! Your dil
will maange more...
[email protected]
[First Tue & Wed]
Theatre by youth (Tickets Rs 80)
Tue 3 & Wed 4 | 9 pm | Prithvi Theatre
Zero budget Production's
EK DON ADICH (Marathi)
See play schedule
Workshop for youth
Alliance Franç[email protected]
[3rd Wed]
Rendez-vous avec le cinéma français
Wed 18 | 7 pm | Prithvi House
MELLO (1986) - 112 mIn
Cast: Sabine Azéma, Fanny Ardent, Pierre Arditi
Directed by: Alain Renais
In Paris in the 1920s, a concert violinist meets and falls
in love with a stylish young flapper who's the wife of an
old friend. Romaine initiates the affair with Marcel, and
carries it forward even as her husband, Pierre, falls ill.
She may even be purposely giving Pierre treatment that
adds to his misery. After Marcel returns from a concert
tour and Romaine stoops to a new low in abandoning
Pierre for an assignation, she reconsiders the affair
and takes a drastic step. Three years later, Pierre pays
Marcel a visit to demand the truth. Will the jealous and
aggrieved Marcel manage a convincing performance?
P* Premier Show
• No refund or exchange of tickets.
• Children below 6 years not allowed.
• This program is subject to change.
• Box Office timings 1 pm - 9 pm.
Prithvi Corpus Fund Patron
at Thespo
Aadya Shah
gets the scoop
at Thespo 13
A still from Patient
Prithvi Theatre was the confluence of
artistry during the Thespo Festival from
13th to 18th December 2011. This year, as
Thespo enters adolescence, there was a lot
to look forward with a grand line up of plays,
theatre workshops and band performances.
The venue was buzzing with activity and
animation, some chatting away at the
Prithvi Café, others darting back and forth.
The Thespo team, consisting mainly of
under-25 young men and women has done
a great job in organizing this grand festival.
Four plays were handpicked out of a
whopping 95 from seven cities across India.
These plays plunder relevant and current
social issues such as cancer, homosexuality,
suicide, pregnancy, inter caste marriage and
politics, seemingly grim topics with steady,
unwavering smiles.
The Marathi plays were thoroughly
enjoyable, harmonizing the serious with the
comical, often involving making a decision
that ends up being life altering.
Patient is a young man’s struggle against
cancer during the 1970’s, a time when
medical science hadn’t made much progress.
The performance was ensconced in subtle
yet powerful theatrics. As the young lead
struggles to cope with the disease. A
powerful performance and a powerful play.
December 15th saw the performance of
Ek Don Adich directed by Aniket Patil.
Everybod’s got problems. Especially the
young man who struggles to commit
suicide at Koparkhairane platform in the
dead of the night. Having missed his train
to his heavenly abode through a series of
interruptions, his frustration and anger is
our source of mirth. A blind man stumbles
onto the platform, and consequently opens
up his eyes to reason, resonating the play’s
anthem ‘Any two incidents are co-related
to each other’. A deliberative play that
scrutinizes chance vs. fate, coincidences
vs. scripted destiny and slants a bit towards
existentialist aspects, it’s definitely worth a
Janhit Mein Jaari directed by Abhishek
Dave and Chinmay R Kulkarni is not
mundane by any angle. It touches upon a
miasma of social issues such as inter caste
marriage, pregnancy, safe sex, politics and
women’s rights which plays up the humour
throughout the story. 21 year old Dilip
discovers that his girlfriend 19 year old
Mandakini, is pregnant. Dilip’s father in law,
Patil, is a man with a political background
advocates inter-caste marriages in the village.
These plays plunder relevant
and current social issues such
as cancer, homosexuality,
suicide, pregnancy, inter
caste marriage and politics,
seemingly grim topics with
steady, unwavering smiles.
A still from Janhit Mein Jaari
We observe how Dilip scrambles to save
himself from this dire situation and how
Patil tries to exploit Dilip for political profits.
A charming little ditty, with a colorful cast
of characters, it’s simultaneously enjoyable
and very educational. The intermittent song
and dance routines give a charming rustic
feel to the play.
The Thespo 13 Awards Night saw Patient
walk away with the awards for Outstanding
Play, Production Design and Director.
Ek Don Adich grabbed the ‘New Writing’
award. Patient and Janhit Mein Jaari both tied
for the ‘Outstanding Actor in a Supporting
Role’ with Siddharth Mahashabde and
Ashish Nasalapure receiving the awards
After concluding an 8-month tour with
Multi- award winning company Brainstorm
Productions, David Hirst, a 2008 Graduate of
Flinders University Drama Centre, is in Bombay
as a part of Thespo. He conducted a workshop
on 'Exploration Of Physical And Emotional
Theatre' and was in a platform performance called
'Us And Them'
Life and acting. It’s all about objectives. At
the end of the day, it’s about what you want,
what action you’re going to take and what
your obstacles are.
I really got into theatre at the age of 13. My
friend and I ended up stealing a role from
the play. I’ve kind of been the weird actor-y
kid since I could speak. I tend to go for
really physical based stuff. I normally start
off the workshops, with getting people to
tell stories with physical movements and
getting them to highlight how the physical
is used as a tool of communication. Just
movements, no verbal at all. At the same
time, you put in emotion. So you let the
physical and the emotion to tell the story.
It’s like watching a movie with the sound
off because just by the physicality of it, you
should be able to sense how the person is
feeling from what their body is doing
For people who are doing the workshop,
it’s primarily to learn. To broaden their
horizons and to hone their skills. A lot of
people go to drama school, and they end
up working and some of their skills fall to
the wayside. The workshops are to inspire
newcomers or amateurs and instruct them.
And for others, it’s to remember the skills
they have and help them focus on what
they need to improve.
Indians seem to be hungrier for the
theatre and for the knowledge. For people
who have so little, as in no time, no room,
no rehearsal spaces, there is an absolute
hunger and a drive to create. If I do a
workshop here, when it ends, 10 people will
want to get a coffee with you and talk to
you over the next hour about what you’ve
just done. I prefer the Indian way, because
Indians seem to be hungrier
for the theatre and for the
knowledge. For people who
have so little, as in no time,
no room, no rehearsal spaces,
there is an absolute hunger
and a drive to create.
David Hirst's Us and Them workshop at Thespo
they want to learn and therefore I want to
teach them. They’re a lot more willing to
put themselves out there. The work ethic
matters too. I’ve had to kick a couple of
people out of workshops because they’re 15
minutes late. It’s also hard to get an honest
conversation going. Everybody’s so eager
to please, eager to be seen in a nice light.
I really try to break down that barrier; I try
to say, “It’s ok if you don’t understand.”
But once the bond has been created, they’re
very giving actors. They really want to do
the work for you. We’re having a lot of
contd. on pg 8
Centre Stage contd. from pg 2
– since the structure of theatre is the key.
There are some plays you know can be
easily written but they don’t seem like fun.
But you do a favour for a friend or a new
theatre group, a bit of ghost writing or
adaptation on the side.
KA:You capture the cultural background,
the song, and ethos of a community.
RR: For Cotton 56, Polyester 84 I was
surrounded by people who were affected by
the mill strike. For me, the politics became
KA: So how do you bring your characters
to talk in an authentic voice?
RR: Jazz was born of my experience as
a Bandra boy. I've lived in Bandra for 20
years. You tend to make the connections.
Mumbai is a dying city. But she is a lover
who gives you so much. Most of my stories,
are inspired and besotted by the life in this
city which is both cruel and beautiful.
KA: Cotton 56, Polyester 84 and Jazz have
some musical element – songs are written
for it.
RR: I am not a formally trained musician,
but most people in my family are musicians.
So, good music is a habit. Songs or sound
design are a good tool deployed, effectively.
KA: Hamlet’s line – the play is the thing
to capture the conscience of a king – It
makes me wonder, is the play the thing or
is its value in catching the conscience of
those that watch it? For you I don’t think
there is any contest between the two.
RR: The community and its voice is
important. I don’t mind tolerating a bad
play if the politics is good. More so, in
the past 20 years. I enjoy attending a
Bharood competition in Jambori Maidan
or a diatribe at Azad Maidan because these
things have to be said. In fact they have
to be shouted. The problem is no one is
shouting. So you have to picket. The eight
plays in this collecting have that streak. But
they are not agitprop. Cotton 56, Polyester
84 and Comrade Kumbakarana are like that.
Very in your face because they begin with
an angry political position. My friends, with
whom I used to fly kites were the sons of
mill workers. Likewise friends who have
been arrested in Maharashtra. These two
plays were for friendship. When my friends
saw both plays, they said "not bad, you still
remember". That's crucial. A writer cannot
forget. He should not forget.
KA: Your plays are a study in the language of
protest. In what other art forms do you see
this language being perpetuated or even
alive today – in film or books or poetry?
RR: Sambhaji Bhagat – Mumbai’s Bob
Dylan cum Eminem. What he says is
important; also where he says it. In the
slums and streets of Mumbai. Likewise
poets like Vera Vera and Kalyan Rao.
Ramu Ramanathan at a workshop with Aasakta
Vijay Tendulkar said, if you
want to use 100 gaalis in a play,
insert 10,000. After the cuts you
will be left with the number you
want. And everyone is happy.
A lot of the Indian documentaries I've
seen are rousing. They may not add up to
substantial wholes but it gives me hope.
You attend a recital by Ulhas Kashalkar or
Rashid Khan along with a 1000 people; and
it's a cry against mediocrity for those two
hours. For the rest of the time, the forces
are just too strong. It's a kind of hypnosis.
Jose Saramago’s metaphor for capitalism in
Potrugal was: blindness. India's metaphor
is: being hypnotised.
KA: Productions such as Kashmir Kashmir,
Comrade Kumbhakarna, Yaar What’s The
Capital Of Manipur – these have a gloves
off reaction to the government of India’s
policies and implementation.
RR: Cotton 56, Polyester 84 had a problem in
Nagpur, which Sunil Shanbag and the team
had to encounter. They subverted the bigotry
of the law enforcers. Sunil has moved on
since then, but I think that was Sunil's finest
moment. It was Dario Fo at his best. KA: Have you run into any censorship issues?
RR: With most plays you camouflage things
and manipulate the script. At first you
are foolish and dogmatic but you learn to
work around censorship in India. As Vijay
Tendulkar said, if you want to use 100 gaalis
in a play, insert 10,000. After the cuts you
will be left with the number you want. And
everyone is happy.
KA: Cotton 56 Polyester 84, 3 Sakina Manzil
bring alive with nostalgia a way of life
that has been obliterated by economic
forces. Is there not something Darwinian
about this? There is a failure of the state
as protector – but how unnatural is this
evolution into capitalist blitzkrieg?
RR: Capitalism is a very sophisticated
process; and we have under-estimated it.
Only a miniscule fraction of the world's $4
trillion in foreign exchange deals each day is
for trade settlements. The bulk of currency
dealing is for hedging or related to trading
in stocks, bonds and other assets in other
words, scraps of data which move capital
across borders. I met this Jewish banker
in a flight and he was saying: the Chinese
currency is the future. I asked him how
does he predict that? He said: currency
is determined by its attractiveness to the
organised crime network. Today Somalian
pirates and the Russian mafia demand
payment in Yuan. This is the surest sign
that economic power has shifted to China.
KA: What is it that keeps the theatre of
protest alive?
RR: In India it used to be the Left. That
space has diminished whether it was street
theatre or hosting of festivals. Intellectual
bartering is dead. It has created a vacuum –
in university campuses, textile mills, women
groups, slums. There is pressure on these
groups to conform. Today, ideology is
evolution. Consumption is the revolution.
KA: Tell us about the play you are currently
working on. What triggered off your
interest in the Mathura Rape Case?
RR: It is research-based, again. It highlights
the women movement in the early eighties.
A fantastic tale that is dying to be told.
KA: So you haven’t written it yet until the
group is identified?
RR: The question is whether I should dilute
it – give it to someone whose sensibility and
aesthetics I am not comfortable with. There
is a chance I might diminish what I am saying.
The play has rough edges; and without it,
the form will be contaminated. Will that
happen I don't know. Sometimes you wonder.
Creativity, is there any point to it?
KA: You once said you’ve written more plays
than you should have. Could you elaborate?
RR: I did the proof-reading for this play
collection, I was cringing. I wondered how
I’d let certain things pass. I wanted to rework
them. But I don't have the time; nor patience.
Mediocrity has percolated everywhere na?
But broadly speaking, if a friend approaches
me and requests, I am open to reworking it
unless the idea is silly. For Kashmir Kashmir I
would probably do a rewrite. I think I ruined
Mohit's career with that play.
KA: What’s next?
RR: There are a few plays. But all in the head.
The dynamics of Mumbai are not helpful
when it comes to staging plays. The kind
of innocence with which we pulled off a
student production like Me Grandad ‘Ad An
Elephant or PM @ 3 PM are experiments that
belong to the past. Educational institutions
tolerated our work. Today that kind of
benign tolerance cannot be counted on.
In that sense, I was impressed with what
Arghya Lahiri and Pushan Kriplani have
pulled off with their minimalist production
of Hayavadana at the Cama Institute. One
misses that sort of madness, today.
Café Chatter
Shernaz Patel tells PTNotes about
the year-long process that has
resulted in the Writers' Bloc festival
in January, and what we can expect
from the plays this year.
The Writers' Bloc workshops have been
happening since 2002, though we only had
our first festival in 2004; the last festival
was in 2007, and now we have another one
coming up this year!
The process by which this Festival has
come into being is that last year, in the
month of June, we asked for entries for
original scripts. We got scripts from all
across the country, a total of 104 scripts in
all, in 6–7 different languages. We set up a
panel that shortlisted 25 scripts out of this
lot, and then the Royal Court Theatre, who
are our partners for the Writers' Bloc, chose
the final list of 12-15 writers.
These playwrights then went through an
intensive two-week workshop with three
members if the Royal Court, at the end
of which they were required to write one
scene of a new play. After the conclusion
of the workshop, they went back and
completed an initial draft of this play. In
April, we regrouped with the Royal Court
for another two-week workshop – for this
one we also invited some actors from the
Bombay theatre circuit – and the second
draft was prepared. In August we met again
for the final workshop, this time without
the Royal Court, and fine-tuned the scripts.
Once that was done, we began scouting for
production houses to put up the plays.
Its heartening to see that the festival
has grown tremendously over these last
few years; the playwrights are from five
different cities across India – Bangalore,
Chennai, Mumbai, Delhi, and Pune. Even
the plays themselves cover the length and
breadth of the country, and are variously
set in small towns, villages, metros; quite
literally spanning the expanse from
Backstage at Thespo contd. from pg 6
problems of funding in Australia at the
moment, because unfortunately they don’t
see the value of the art.
I’m very inspired by Sam Shepard, just
because so much of his stuff comes from
his own life and he’s so willing to put it
out there in front of you. I’m a very big
Ibsen fan. I love his play ‘An Enemy of the
a pedestal. And this is extremely essential,
because so many people write, but most of
the scripts just lie on the bookshelf.
When it came to actually performing the
plays, some of the playwrights themselves
chose the directors they wanted to work
with. For those who did not have a particular
director in mind, we tried to find the best
match. It's important to find directors who
can work with new playwrights, especially in
such a scenario where the playwright is part
This is the only festival, I think,
where the writer is put on a
pedestal. And this is extremely
essential, because so many
people write, but most of the
scripts just lie on the bookshelf.
The playwrights at work.
(Above) A still from Shillak. (Below) A still from Pereira Bakery.
Kashmir to Chennai! We categorically
told the playwrights not to worry about
the commercial aspect, but just write what
they feel strongly about. This is the only
festival, I think, where the writer is put on
of the rehearsal process, and is willing to
change his script as and when the situation
demands it. The relationship between the
director and the playwright is a delicate,
but crucial one. The good thing about this
kind of collaborative process is that the
playwright is willing to take on board the
feedback and criticism for his work.
Incidentally, all the plays at the Festival
have a very strong human interest element,
they all have a larger social and political
message. This probably also has a lot to do
with the way the Royal Court conducts its
training, which revolves around the idea of
what it is that you, as a writer, want to say
to the world. For instance, there is one play
from Bangalore that is essentially about a
live-in relationship; but it also raises larger
questions about our own value systems and
how they change and evolve with time.
The most wonderful thing about a
process like the Writers' Bloc is that it brings
together the whole theatre community. The
writers themselves have said that they feel
responsible not just for their own plays, but
for the whole festival; and this is a great
spirit to have!
People’. My boss, Glen Hayden inspires
me too. Thespo inspires me. To make a
festival out of almost nothing is amazing.
Basically anybody who has a passion for art
inspires me. I‘d absolutely love to train and
perform here. I really want to perform at
the Prithvi Theatre. I want that on my CV.
It’s a brilliant space.
-As told to Aadya Shah
Published for private circulation by Sanjna Kapoor for Prithvi Theatre, Janki Kutir, Juhu Church Road, Mumbai 400 049.
Tel 2614 9546 Email [email protected] Web www.prithvitheatre.org
The views expressed in PT Notes are those of the authors. PT Notes is available for download at www.prithvitheatre.org
Editor in chief Shanta Gokhale Executive Editor Sharvari Sastry Editors (Hindi) Gopal Tiwari and Shabnam Vadhera
Design Ka Designs Illustrations Sachin Jadhav
– As told to Sharvari Sastry
Happy New Year!
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or snail mail at Prithvi Theatre,
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Mumbai 400 049