I love watching plays. I've only watched about 3 that I can remember, since college, but loved the experience each time. Flawlessly delivered, sometimes even better than a movie. The crowd is mature. No mobile phones ringing, no late entry, following the rules for there is a reason...
I don't know what it is but when I look at something, I can't help looking beyond it, wondering about the components behind it, the efforts that went into it. When I go into Google Labs to enable/disable features, I can't help but look at the name of the guy who created the feature and wonder how he might have done it. It wasn't any different when I went to watch the play 'Five Point Someone' by Evam, based on a book of the same name, by Chetan Bhagat (just making sure he won't sue me for not giving him credit!!). I enjoyed the play and I couldn't help wondering about the crew behind the scenes, wondered what the actors might be thinking.
It was a beautifully-made play. I had read the book ages ago and could barely remember much of it, so there were no spoilers to the story. It was a bonus that, the drama was so well presented. It started off with a narration from a character who appeared to be a Chetan Bhagat (glasses, sweater, et al) but was actually the narrator of the story (CB or not?). The switch from the past to the present was seamless throughout the play and the usage of lights was done in an impressive manner. They had used minimal props, easily movable ones and yet maintained the essence of the story. At no point during the play did I find a scene wanting in visuals or anything else.
The attention to detail was heart-warming. For someone like me, suffering from mild (hmm.. maybe not-so-mild) OCD, that is very important. Scenes where the lecturer was teaching in class. Both the lecturers and the students faced the audience, no backs turned to us. Thank you! They spoke with the audience with the same conviction they might have had, had they been speaking to each other. It was hard to notice the weirdness of the lecturer talking to the backs of the students as they spoke with the audience. I wouldn't be wrong if I said 'impossible to notice the weirdness' either. It just held your attention and painted a picture of a real teacher-facing-students-facing-blackboard classroom. How amazing is it to be able to set up a visual in front of your eyes that gives you a more realistic picture in your mind's eye?
A scene that I was really looking forward to was the one where the protagonists in the play "do it". I was curious to see how that would be portrayed. It's easy to do that in a movie but in a play? Would they skip it? No, they skipped nothing. The entire hall began to clap when the scene came on. Nothing perve about it, mind you - not the scene, not the audience. It was a brilliantly executed scene! A standing slab of wood, representing a bed, with pillows pinned to it in a slightly messed-up fashion (remember I said the bed was 'standing'... not horizontal on the floor like a bed might be but vertical). Leaning on the vertical bed were the hero and the heroine of the day (they were so natural you'd believe they were 'lying on the bed'), the guy wearing a white vest with a white bedsheet pulled up to his shoulder and the girl covered in the same white bedsheet. It's hard to explain but it was so real. There they were, a log of wood covered in white, two characters standing against it, in front of your eyes... and all you are seeing is a bed with white bed-linen, a boy and girl lying in bed.... just the way the scene is meant to be imagined.
Much as I love them, I don't get to watch plays so often, so I am not very familiar with how they are presented. It may be normal for the director of the play and everyone else behind to scenes, to pay that level of attention to detail and follow basic rules like never turning your back to the audience. What I found commendable was how every scene was enacted to create just the right picture in the audiences mind, either with direct visuals, change of lighting or by showing a representation that indirectly paints the right picture in your mind. Was I overenthusiastic or were most people in the audience novices like me? Either way... all of us came out of the hall enthralled by the performance.
The script was very well written and enacted. It made me want to read the book again. It made me want to make more people read the book. It has only managed to increase my desire to watch the movie '3 Idiots', based "loosely" on the book. I loved the play so much that I find myself wondering if the movie will live up to my expectations! It might. If nothing else, it's an Aamir Khan movie. No matter what his role is - actor, director, producer - if Aamir Khan is in it, he carries the movie on his shoulder and more often than not, the movie is a success. Again, attention to detail, striking the right chords with the audience, that's his style. Can't wait to watch it. Until then, revelling in the beauty of the play I watched in the not-so-far-behind past.
The best part? The show that I watched was the first run of the all-India series. The first show and it was flawless, eliciting laughter and sighs from the audience at the right places each time (believe me when I say each sigh was audible). No faltering, no butterflies-in-my-stomach-actors (not for the audience's eyes atleast), impeccable performance... the accents, the dialogues, the delivery... simply superb!
Logon to www.indianstage.in for details of the show all over India and any other shows by Evam or others.