The last sensation Sir
Charles Baskerville feels is terror. His body is found in the morning, with his face contorted in fear, and the
“footprints” of a massive dog around it. Of all the mysteries that ever got Sherlock Holmes out of 221B Baker Street in London, The Hound of Baskervilles is the most thrilling. Mumbai-based Akash Khurana, a veteran of more than 45 productions, however, turns Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s spine-chiller into a comic caper. Based on an adaptation by Stephen Canny and John Nicholson, the play draws upon themes of awkward situations and quicksilver repartees, as well as canine mischief.
When did you first meet the Hound?
When I was in school and used to read a book every three days. I would be very scared. The Hound of Baskervilles was written more than 100 years ago and it can still fill us with wonder and fear.
What leads you to Baskervilles now?
Just a wonderful innovative text by Stephen Canny and John Nicholson and the opportunity offered by Aadyam to stage it. The play is as per the text and not a localised adaptation.
Where is the contemporary socio-political comment in this story?
There is none. This is pure, basic entertainment that does not have the deep thinking of a Baghdad Wedding (a previous production that won Best Play at the Mahindra Excellence in Theatre Awards). I wanted a different kind of funny trip.
How did you scrawl the AKVarious signature on a well-known story?
I was intrigued by the challenges the story posed on the inventiveness of theatre artists, not just actors but designers, stage managers, wardrobe people, and stagehands. All the world may be a stage, but there’s a world backstage, too. Being backstage in a complex theatre production can be just as demanding (and gratifying) as entertaining audiences in front. Split second timing offstage in small spaces in the dark, is as necessary to an enjoyable evening at the theatre as the timing of the actors on stage. Our production tries to bring out this aspect of the theatre by displaying the dexterity of creative artists. At a more personal level, we have tried to pay a tribute to a number of little moments in theatre that have inspired and amused us over the years.
Who plays Sherlock?
Karan Pandit is Holmes while Arghya Lahiri plays Watson. Vivek Madan, Rytasha Rathore and Vivaan Shah have multiple parts.
The play will be staged as part of Aadyam Theatre at Kamani auditorium on August 22 (7.30 pm) and 23 (4 pm and 7.30 pm)