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Colours of love

Wednesday, October 31, 2018
By Deepa Gahlot

At a small alternative performance space, audiences are invited to sit on stools placed in the centre of the hall, because the actors will be moving all around them and they can twirl on the stools to catch the action. A sofa, mattress, writing desk, dining table, a tea table with bentwood chairs, a couple of suitcases are all part of the props to be used in the play, Love Matters, directed by Ashish Joshi.

The production is an adaptation of three short stories by the Malaysian-Indian writer Malachi Edwin Vethamani, from his collection Coitus Interruptus And Other Stories, about various forms of love, desire and sexuality, all performed as monologues.

In the first story, a boy called Ravi (Dheer Hira), talks of his sister Prema Akka, who left to work in the UK and never returned.  But she is seen by the neighbours as a good, dutiful daughter because she sends money to her family. After a few years, Ravi goes to the UK study—for which Prema pays—and discovers just why she did not go back home.

In the second, a single working woman (Sukhita Aiyar), has guilt-free affairs with men, much to the envy of her married friends (with faithless husbands), she meets for tea every Saturday; then her wings are cut.

In the third story, a gay young man (Rushab Kamdar) is unable to come out to his family even when his parents, innocently believe that his partner would be a good match for his sister.

The tiny space and unusual style of presentation, lent a certain casual charm to the performance, in which the audience is almost like a friend listening to an intimate confession. The stories, unfortunately are clichéd and quite predictable; it is easy to see, for instance, that Prema did not return home because of her involvement with a white—hence ‘forbidden’-- man. The actors, however, looked confident and quite unfazed even with the audience quite literally at arm’s length and in some cases, probably looking into their eyes.

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