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Time to celebrate

Tuesday, October 24, 2017
By Deepa Gahlot

This weekend will see two exciting theatre events. Lillete Dubey’s Primetime Theatre Company completed 25 years in 2016, and the celebrations continue.

She always wanted to work on original Indian plays, and for most part, she has stuck to that brief, producing, directing and acting in plays by Girish Karnad, Vijay Tendulkar, Mohan Rakesh (in translation) Mahesh Dattani and Partap Sharma among others.

She also has the knack of picking work that offers her challenging roles. The story 'Salaam, Noni Appa', from Twinkle Khanna’s book – 'The Legend of Lakshmi Prasad', was an inspired choice; it is simple, emotional, funny, romantic and has well-written dialogue. It was adapted for the stage by Adhir Bhat.

The story is about two sisters in their sixties – Noni and Binni – whose real “nice Ismaili names” have been all but forgotten. Like so many women of that age with empty nests and time on their hands, they take up fads that strike them – art classes, singing, baking and so on. When they take up yoga, the teacher Anand, shakes up their placid lives.

Lillette Dubey directs and plays the lead, with Jayati Bhatia, Meher Acharia-Dar and Rishi Khurana in the cast.

The other event is the exciting '36 Ghante', at which sixty playwrights, directors and actors will present ten short plays to celebrate the 25 years of Rage, the group founded by Rajat Kapur, Rahul DaCunha and Shernaz Patel. What’s unique is that the plays will be written, rehearsed and presented in just thirty-six hours.

Bringing together such a large section of Mumbai’s theatre community must have been a mammoth task of communication and coordination. The money raised from the box-office will be given to ten artistes, technicians and theatre workers that Rage wants to acknowledge through the event.

The playwrights will be given a theme on which they have to write a ten-minute play with two male and two female characters. By the next evening they will have to deliver the scripts, from which the directors will choose one, without knowing who wrote it. The names of the forty actors will be written on chits and again picked blindly by the directors. The actors will be sent the scripts, will start rehearsing in the morning and by evening, the plays will be performed.

This collective magic will take place for just one show, when Mumbai’s best will come together on the same stage.

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