Two of a Kind

This weekend,QTP stages two cautionary tales — Project S.T.R.I.P. and A Peasant of El Salvador — at Prithvi Theatre

Written by EXPRESS FEATURES SERVICE | Published: August 30, 2013 1:52:05 am

While researching for his play Project S.T.R.I.P. in 2008,director Quasar Thakore Padamsee found a copy of A Peasant of El Salvador,written by Peter Gould and Stephen Stearn,at a shop which sells second-hand books. Ever since,he has recommended the play — the heart-warming story of a farmer and his family set against the backdrop of the civil unrest of the late 1970s in America — to several groups. However,he stopped doing that once he revisited the play some time ago. “Instead of talking about this play,I realised that I should be doing it,” says Quasar.

A Peasant of El Salvador — produced by Q Theatre Productions (QTP) — opens at Prithvi Theatre on Sunday. Its premiere will be preceded by the shows of Project S.T.R.I.P.,directed by Quasar and written by Ram Ganesh Kamatham. The plays are being presented by QTP as a double bill. Both of them are cautionary tales — one,a futuristic dystopia and the other,a retelling of history. “I found one,while researching for the other. What struck me about both stories is how little the ‘little people’ matter. In our calculations of economic development,we are blinded by the statistical success of initiatives but miss out on the actual human cost. Both these stories deal with severe issues,but with humour and grace. And I hope these only remain stories on a stage and we never actually get there,” says Quasar.

While Project S.T.R.I.P. is a satire about corporate politics,A Peasant of El Salvador has three narrators taking viewers on an exotic journey through the mountains and plains of Central America. They tell the story of a simple peasant with a big family,a big heart and a small piece of land. The peasant,one of hundreds in a similar situation,silently waits for things to change in the face of a military dictatorship,sweeping land reforms,death squads,guerrilla warfare and unprecedented repression. After years of patiently accepting his destiny,he finds his voice at a historical event that shook the world.

The widely-staged American play was initially performed by a single actor. Later on,both its playwrights enacted it. However,during workshops for the play,Quasar realised it works well with three narrators. Since the play does not have a conventional format,he could cast actors — Suhas Ahuja,Meher Acharia and Pramod Pathak — in it.

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