Friday, January 29, 2010
Five Point Someone by Evam
28 Jan 2010
After the longest gap, I watched this play in Rangashankara. I had to watch it - it was by Evam after all. I left office early - around 4 Pm in the noon, so I could rest sufficiently before the 7:30 show and be able to appreciate it fully.
I had bought the ticket the Sunday before so I didn’t have to scramble for one. But there was the formidable serpentine queue. I pretended to stand in it for a while and when the bell rang, I stole a moment when no one was looking at me to take a short cut to the stairs. Centre seat in the third row, finally. Not bad at all.
Asking my neighbour to take care of my seat, I rushed to the café below for a quick Vada Pav. A 500 rupee note was too much in exchange for 15 rupee Vada Pav. I’m yet to pay her.
The play was enacted before a tightly packed audience.
3 students trapped in the IIT trying to eat the cake and have it too. On the one hand, they have their personal friendship, sports, love, leisure and fun. On the other there is a sense of duty, calling them to surprise quizzes, exams, internals and assignments.
They try to do both and when the inevitable failure jolts them, they blame each other, console each other, but carry on like before.
Situation gets from bad to worse as they sink deeper and deeper into the whirlpool of their own creation. Then arrives the doomsday that almost seals their future…
And then comes salvage from an unexpected direction and saves them.
I must say, the book has been brought to life. Almost every detail that could possibly find room in a two and a half hour play has been presented.
The appearance of the cast for example. The ordinary, plain Hari, the fat, fleshy, clownish Alok, the confident, handsome, Ryan, with an attitude. It must have taken the troupe several rounds of auditioning to find actors that looked the way they ought to and possessed acting talent too.
All of the actors were from Bangalore! Good!
I was somewhat disappointed with all those who played faculty members. They were not audible enough. They had an accent. It did not seem like they were bringing forth the accent of the character they were playing. It must be their own accent.
With the exception of Cherian, the HOD, they just did not seem like IIT Profs.
Among all, the award for dialogue delivery and acting goes to the grown up Hari, the narrator of the story, sitting in a corner of the stage, coming into limelight now and then in between scenes. He narrated well and brought forth humour with his expressions as well as voice intonation. The rest of the actors could certainly improve their dialogue delivery. But they all have done a good job given that they seem young and new to theatre.
Ryan seemed most comfortable on stage while Hari could work a little more on his body language. At places he seems not to know what to do with his hands. I would give him the benefit of doubt since he was, after all, playing a boy, who did not yet have a definite identity of his own, but was groping his way around, nervous and uncertain. Alok did a good job on bringing forth the intensity of emotion(disappointment) in some scenes - when he is filled with remorse for his failure and is reminded of his family that has all hopes pinned on him.
Neha could certainly work on improving her accent.
Humour has been brought forth very well.
There wasn’t much scope for fancy stage setting and I have no remarks on that front. But the raised semi-rectangular platform to depict the 9th floor insti roof was appropriate. I can’t think of how else it could have been done.
There was no scene showing Alok’s family - a weeping mother and a paralysed father. The narrator and the actors covered that part of the story with their talking.
The lovemaking scene between Hari and Neha was however shown on stage and not covered in narration. There was really no symbolism nor subtlety as one might expect in such cases. There was the bed, pillows and the actors covered in a white sheet, cuddled together; all of them in standing position, thankfully. Of course, it was not awkward, while it could have been. It was quite okay for family viewing. I am just wondering if this could not have been covered in narration and not shown at all.
Perhaps with changing times, theatre is getting bolder too.
One year ago, when I watched Mouse and Positions in Rangashankara in which the actors, a male and a female were shown rolling over one another on the floor, I was somewhat taken aback.
I am getting used to it now, though I wonder as I do when I watch movies, about the necessity of depicting such intimacy on stage and ‘on your face‘.
One play that I must mention, now that we found ourselves on the subject, is ‘Surya Ki Antim Kiran Se Surya Ki Pehli Kiran Tak’, a Hindi play I watched in Chowdiah Memorial Hall 2 years ago casting Neena Gupta, Rajendra Gupt and others.
The theme of the play, the story on which it was based - a queen, married to an impotent king, discovering accidentally, after several years of abstinence and denial, the pleasure of indulging in a man - necessitated intimate scenes and detailed discussion of the subject of sex, fidelity etc. The finesse with which it was done was remarkable. During a scene, the lights were all off, except for only one in a corner, away from the actors. You could just see the silhouette of the actors on a bed, talking and laughing in slow whispers, chimes in the background, suggestive dialogues that circled around the subject of sex, very close to it, but not touching it directly.
I will not digress further from ‘Five Point Someone’.
On the whole, it was a good play. Please do watch it if it’s staging in your city.