Yours, mine & ours

Crystal Anniversary talks about how marital relationships change over time, when angst and boredom seeps in

Mumbai | Updated: February 19, 2014 1:45 pm
A scene from Crystal Anniversary A scene from Crystal Anniversary

The first thing Salone Mehta says of the play Crystal Anniversary by The Artiste’s Studio is that it is “intense”. Then on, there is no hiding that under the humour, the live music and singing or the playing out of mundane activities, lies a dark side.
The play, which was last performed at the Kala Ghoda festival in Mumbai, was brought to Pune for the first time, as part of Pukaar Festival on February 8. Crystal Anniversary was first staged four years ago at Prithvi Theatre, National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA) and Bandra Festival among several other venues.
The 75-minute production unveils a marriage of 15 years — a man who has given up his acting, his wife who gave up singing and their son who watches it all. “The lead characters, Nikhil and Sherry, are based in Mumbai. The speed of their life has gobbled them up but they don’t even realise it. But on their 15th anniversary, it shows,” says Mehta, co-founder of The Artiste’s Studio, who has written the play and essays the role of Sherry. Mehta’s husband Yashwant Singh has directed Crystal Anniversary and also plays Nikhil.
In the course of the play, the father returns to his art, which in itself is like a betrayal because the wife has also been away from her singing. “To stoke the fire further, Nikhil has cast a young girl opposite himself. Is he really attracted to her and does that end his marriage are questions we have not answered,” says Mehta, adding that the angst of the situation is portrayed by the son, Dhruv, who is desperately trying to hold the family together. He tries to create excitement about the anniversary celebrations and digs out old photographs to evoke a feeling of nostalgia though he can see his parents’ marriage falling apart. Along the play, the mother too returns to her art, but towards the end a tragedy unveils.
While the story has a basic pathos, there is a fair amount of humour too. “As a whole, it is beautifully artistic because there are parts where the son plays the piano on-stage, and Sherry sings as part of her voice training,” she says. The stage is also divided into two spaces. On one side is the couple’s home, where Nikhil is acting and the boy is having friends over, the other side is the home of Sherry’s voice trainer.
Mehta shares that the audience reaction to the play had been encouraging. “People come to us after the show and ask us what happens to the couple. Do they fall apart? Does Nikhil go after the girl? Should he have behaved in such a way? It’s almost like Nikhil and Sherry are real people. The reaction has always been very involved,” she says.
Apart from Mehta and Singh, the cast includes their 12-year-old son Yohan Singh, who plays Dhruv; Harsh Singh; Gillian Pinto; Nittal Chandarana and Sumit Kumar.

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