I recently went for a play called 'Theft' at Ranaga Shanakara, Bangalore. Its about how a family gets burgled one night, and they have their neighbours' and best friends' shoulders to cry on. The trouble starts when they realise the burglar is still in the house. One by one, the wily thief unravels their secrets, baiting them with temptation, monetary & otherwise. While everybody is trying to turn the thief in, the skeletons in their closets come tumbling out. Infidelity, hypocrisy, friendship for money, and how we all have our dark secrets was the theme of the play.
Watching the play reminded me of the 2 plays that I myself had participated in when I was in Wynberg Allen School, Musssoorie for my +2. The first was the longest running play in the world, The mousetrap by Agatha Christie, & the second, An Inspector calls by J.B. Priestley. Why this play reminded me of them was because they also dealt with a similar theme. How in Mousetrap, there is a murderer on the loose, and the chase for the slippery character leads to unfurling of the darkest emotions & moments of human nature. An inspector calls portrayed the same fallacies which were in one way or another connected to a girl's suicide in a nursing home. Fine plays all of them, but he Mousetrap certainly stands head & feet above the rest.
In the Mousetrap, I was not a cast member but the prompter. I had auditioned for the role of Mr. Paravicini, a lecher of a man. And at that stage of life, I was an introvert & mighty shy of girls, so I couldnt relate to the role & thus could no do jusice to it. Ultimately i decided to be the prompter to learn the nuances of play acting.
The cast included some of the best actors in my school. There was Saad Siddiqui as the Inspector, who with his cool demeanour fooled everbody. Pooja as Molly the harassed & guilt ridden , and often, self-inquisitive housewife. Aziz as her husband, often confused & perplexed by his wife 's attitude. Rachni as the Judge with a history of biased judgements. Anubhav as Mr. Paravicini, & Shrishti Shakya, one of the most beautiful girls Ive ever met as a guest. Apart from on-stage antics, there was a lot of romance brewing backstage as well. Anubhav-Shristi, Rachni-Vikrant, and so on. As I said I was shy of girls so there s nothing that I was involved in. But my massive crush for Shristi is probably known only to me.
If I had to remember all those events happening during the play, ths space wouldnt be enough. Suffices to say that it was challenging and fun at the same time. An inspector calls had me playing the fiancee of the daughter of an eminent businessman. And like Molly in Mousetrap, this character too was kind-hearted but guilt ridden. he had never done anything wrong in life but still felt guilty for a lot of things beyond his control.
Having acted in plays before, I understand how difficult it is for the actors on stage. To remember lines, to be audible & clear is a mean task. And thats why it is important not only to laugh or cry with the performance, but also to appreciate the effort & toil gone into it. You can be a critic too. If you have been in a goood length play, you ll know exactly where who s gone wrong. But at the end of it all, it is imperative to congratulate the cast & the playwright for a job well done. Ive always wanted to act in plays after that stint in school. But my profession does not allow me that uch time to indulge in acting which requires lot of time & practice. I had the chance for auditioning for a radio play once, the rehearsals for which were to be spread over weekends for 5 months. Unfortunately, that kind of free time was not forthcoming. But I do hope that in the future I get such opportunities, because the emotions involved with plays are overwhelming & exhilarating