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Double Time

To cut a long story short,many theatre groups have hit upon a new formula to attract the audience,they have two or more short plays in an evening rather than one long story.

Written by Parul |
April 11, 2009 1:45:29 am

Theatre groups pack in smaller,multiple plays into a single performance and draw in the crowd

To cut a long story short,many theatre groups have hit upon a new formula to attract the audience,they have two or more short plays in an evening rather than one long story. The short and sweet show appeals to an audience which doesn’t want to spend two-three hours on a play and the variety always engrosses. Most directors limit each play to around 45 minutes and lead actors often find themselves jumping in and out of characters,with technical planning being a vital ingredient in the success. What’s more,it gives theatre people a chance to play a variety of themes,cerebral and meaningful,lighthearted and comic on the same stage and for the same audience.

Recently,Prof Rana Nayyar offered the audience a Double Bill at The Patch Work,the cultural literary fest of the Department of English,PU. Rana directed two short plays,Nabaneeta Dev Sen’s Medea and Chekhov’s Swan Song and says it was a creative challenge he enjoyed. “Both plays made a feminist statement and raised many questions and the format worked very well with the viewers as we’re living in times where the attention span of people is limited. And with two or three short plays being staged in a period of just over an hour,the audience gets variety too,’’ Rana adds how some people chose to watch the first play on day one and came for the second play the next day.

The Black Cow Company didn’t stop at two. The Moo Collection,directed by Misha Singh,is a collection of 12 fast-paced plays,and an odd mix of stories on life and relationships,strung together with quirky humour and smart philosophy. “Short plays are the way to go. The audience attention span has been shrinking and this is the best way to keep them entertained,” says director Misha Singh. Naseeruddin Shah’s Ismat Aapa Ke Naam,clubs three of Chugtai’s stories and remains a hit production. Told by three actors in diverse situations,Heeba Shah narrates Chhui Muee,which dissects the upper-class mentality that allows no room for reason. Mughal Bachha,performed by Ratna Pathak is a satire on Mughal successors,who fail to accept that they are past their prime,while Gharwali,told by Shah,makes observations on the energy of marriage. Varied themes,excellent acting,minimal sets,the production packs in a punch.

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Staging multiple plays,observes theatre director R Dhiman,who has done three short plays on one stage in the earlier part of his career,gives one a chance to play around with various themes,“you also employ less resources,actors and create more space and scope for creativity.’’

Like city’s Theatre Group Mask,as part of its Katha Manchan dramatized Chekhov’s Birthday Present and Seduction in only one-and-a-half hours and the four actors loved the charged atmosphere. “The format is with the times and total entertainment is the idea,’’ Krrish the director enjoyed the scope of improvisation in this design.

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