Cheerful company

Martha and Larry are in an ‘open marriage’ by mutual consent. The deal is clear—both husband and wife get to with a paramour every Tuesday night.

Written by Sagnik Dutta | Published: January 18, 2009 12:41:58 am

The Black Cow Theatre Company brings comic relief to the city

Martha and Larry are in an ‘open marriage’ by mutual consent. The deal is clear—both husband and wife get to with a paramour every Tuesday night. The play,an adaptation of Bruce Kane’s Martha and Larry represents a moral muddle where conventions undergo a comic reversal as husband and wife fight over not being able to fulfill the ‘terms’ of the relationship sincerely.

Bill and Betty are out on a coffee date in the evening,so what does the audience expect? Effusive outpourings on their love? Bt this is where Sure Thing surprises as well as entertains the audience. In a comic reversal of the commonplace,the 12-minute play explores how the couple attempts to influence one another’s way of thinking and get irritated every time they fail to do so. The dark comedy in The Sneeze,a play adapted from a collection of plays by Russian playwright Neil Simon leaves the audience baffled. One doesn’t know whether to laugh or weep as a clerk is exiled for sneezing before his senior at a public park and eventually dies.

A comic take on conventional relationships and love and humorous farcical situations in everyday life predominates the plays of the ‘Moo Collection’,a collection of short plays recently staged at the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library in Delhi by a semi-professional theatre group called the Black Cow Theatre Company.

“There’s too much sadness in the world. The Delhi theatre circuit is dominated by issue-based plays so much so that we’ve stopped thinking of theatre as a source of fun and entertainment,” says Misha Singh,creative director of the theatre company as she explains the rationale behind staging comic plays. Set up in May 2007 by Misha and Kartikey Ambardar,the company has staged spoofs of the classics and plays by famous playwrights. The first production called the Complete Works of Will Shakespeare,was an irreverent,tongue-in-cheek take on the works of Shakespeare. The group mostly works on pre-written scripts and hires college students and fresh graduates as actors for their projects. “We pay our actors a nominal amount of Rs 1,000 per show and also an additional amount depending on how the play performs,” explains Singh.

However,it is primarily the passion for theatre that motivates the two to work on ambitious projects despite their professional commitments. Singh is a coordinator with an NGO and Ambardar,an anchor with a TV channel. “It is the sheer exhilaration of performing on stage that keeps us going despite the financial constraints faced by a new theatre group,” says Ambardar,who is the theatre group’s production manager.

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