Couple caper

The dilemmas for Nilu and Anju—a married couple in their late 20s—remain the same even after over 20 shows of their play Matra Ratra.

Written by Alaka Sahani | Published: March 26, 2009 2:14 am

Aasakta makes it English debut next week with Legitimate Hooey

The dilemmas for Nilu and Anju—a married couple in their late 20s—remain the same even after over 20 shows of their play Matra Ratra. So do their sparse apartment setting and the pattern of their tale unfolding over 17 nights. Next week,however,there will one remarkable change when the couple performs at Prithvi Theatre—they will switch to English from Marathi.

Interestingly,Matra Ratra is a Marathi adaptation of Bradley Hayward’s American play,Legitimate Hooey,by Aasakta Kalamanch. But when this experimental theatre group from Pune took the play to other cities,though the audience grasped the essence of the play,they couldn’t fully comprehend it. “Many people told us that when this is such an urban play,why do we have this language barrier? There was a demand to present it English,” says director Mohit Takalkar.

The group has given in to these demands and is gearing up to stage Legitimate Hooey—it’s first English production—on March 31 and April 1. “Though we have switched to English,we haven’t done away with the changes in cultural references in the script which we had made for its Marathi version,” says Takalkar.

Sagar Deshmukh,who has adapted the play as well as acts in it,says,“Presenting the play in English requires some change in attitude. We are working on it during the rehearsals.” However,both Deshmukh and Takalkar confess that they are much more comfortable in expressing themselves in their mother-tongue,Marathi. And Aasakta’s Tu is a fine instance of how this comfort can increasethe quality of a production.

Last year,however,they had made an exception by staging a Hindi play,Bed ke Neeche Rahne Wali. Post-Legitimate Hooey,Takalkar promises more such exceptions. “We are starting rehearsal of Ramu Ramanathan’s new play in English—Kashmir,Kashmir—in May.”

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