Disappointment yesterday evening. Lokkhoner Shoktishel at the Gyan Manch, a Sukumar Ray classic that I last saw performed almost 30 years ago. I remember it as side-splittingly hilarious. But then one was more easily amused at that age. In any case, it’s the kind of script that, if read well, can be played for a barrel of laughs. This time round, I thought there was just too much tweaking, it was just too referential and “I’m-so-khoo”. This play lies in the spoken lines and unfortunately some of the players were indistinct. Can’t afford to ignore the basics. Overall, “disappoooointmeeeent!” (whips out pistol and fires two shots into safe … how many of the Beavis and Butthead generation have seen “A Fish called Wanda”? Sublime Pythonisms.)
BUT but but .. having been rather nasty, I must say that SOME people impressed, including someone who (I'd hitherto thought) is too young to carry off a Little Black Dress. Another known face  lurked backstage but was cheered the most during the curtain call. The director did a rubber-jointed cameo in the first scene. This affected his voice projection but impressed the shit out of me, especially the bit where he stayed upside down for the longest while and Ram  addressed his upthrust posterior. Oh, and Hanuman (Ritam?) totally rocked in Circuit Warsi mode. That’s an idea .. how about Munnabhai meets the Mahabharat? (Or the Ramayana, as the case may be, but that’s not so alliterative).
Incidentally, we arrived far too early for the show and had to hang around (and perspire gently) in the lobby for a bit. Then we found the hall door open and drifted in to enjoy the air-con. Lo and behold, there was a rehearsal in progress. With show-time a mere half-hour away? I know the feeling. Before enlightenment (i.e., giving up all hope of academic excellence), I too used to have these last-moment mugga (= swot) sessions before term exams, as we walked up from the assembly hall to class. So there we were, enjoying the cliquey feeling of actually being in on the last rehearsal, occasionally waving back (nonchalantly) at certain theatre people who (incredulously) espied us in the seats (the hall lights were up). Until a suave young gentleman all in black came and threw us out into the sweaty wilderness again. I was most impressed by his persistence and panache. A pleasure being chucked out by you, Bikram (I think). We must do it again some time.
 The portrayal of Ram as an effete poseur was one of the things that appealed to me. I mean, how fake does a guy have to be before he ditches a wife who stuck with him through 14 years of shitty married life in the jungle, with a brother-in-law tagging along to put paid to their privacy, sundry vamps chasing after her husband and she doesn't know whether he's getting some on the side when he claims to be out slaying demons - and all for the sake of public opinion?
Besides, if Sita had to prove that she hadn't been romping with Ravana, what about Surpanakha, eh? What had Ram done anyway that made her so nuts about him? Double standards. And don't even get me started about
 Damn, the child has shifted her blog and I can't find it. I know it's called "Opaline" now.