The lead role in Mouse could be an actor’s nightmare. He has to stand around on stage wearing the mask of a mouse and not utter a single word. When he was offered the role, Bikram Ghosh liked it immediately. Ghosh, better known in the theatre circuit as Momo, is today counted among the finest actors of Delhi’s English-language theatre, but for those who have watched Mouse, he is a rodent with resolve. “It is strange that I keep hearing about Mouse although we did only five shows, and that was in 2008. Every now and then, we meet somebody who says they really loved Mouse and we feel a connection with the person because Mouse is at the heart of what we want to do in theatre,” says Ghosh, 30. The play will be staged at India Habitat Centre today and tomorrow, for the first time since its debut year.
“Weird how it turned out, it wasn’t planned that way. Sometimes when you’re lucky, accidents are miraculous,” says playwright-director Neel Chaudhuri. With Ghosh and co-actor Kriti Pant, Chaudhuri forms the core of Tadpole Repertory, a group that is identified with cerebral and stylised plays, such as last year’s adaptation of William Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale as a promenade piece. The trio was mere beginners at the time and Mouse would become the first of a trilogy about actors and acting. “I look at it as a source play,” adds Chaudhuri, “The hope of Mouse is the feeling that if we do this play, everything will be alright. We may never do a play again, we may never work again but we can do this. Let’s rehearse it, let’s present it.”
Mouse is a play within a play in which a director (Pant) and her actor, called Mouse (Ghosh), are going through a final rehearsal. She is full of instructions while he, inside his mask, is silent. She is high-strung, he is awkward. She has ideas, he has a paunch. She is derided by the theatre circuit for her Edga Allen Poe-esque play, he for having the acting talent of a snowman. “Mouse throws a torchlight on the insecurities of the artist – the smallest, weakest artist. It is a play that observes our little ambitions in their most monstrous proportions,” says Chaudhuri and Ghosh adds, “The takeaway from Mouse is that you may be terrible at what you do but if you want to do it, that should set you free.”
Before he joined theatre, Ghosh used to have eight piercings and jewellery around his arms, neck and ankles. continued…