Theatre Watch: Marriage-ology
Where once you may have fretted about the lack of theatre activity in the city, suddenly, there seems to be a generous outpouring of the same. So much so, that all the beautiful performance spaces are booked for the year, a year in advance, as Sunil Shanbag explained exasperatedly, at the premier show of Marriage-ology. This play, by Tamaasha Theatre group, opened at Avenue 9, an alternative theatre space sitting proudly atop the Mini Cooper showroom. It ran to a packed house and we felt suitably elite being stamped before being allowed inside, like we were part of a secret, invite-only club.
Marriage-ology: The Art and Science of Mating, directed by Shanbag and Sapan Saran, is a sum of seven pieces about…well, no prizes for guessing that one. It was delightful to see how a hall similar to someone’s living room could be converted into a performance area. There was a stage, wings, sets that were brought on and off as the piece demanded and props completely done away with. It was all mimed. Costumes were basic. Lighting was limited. Even so, they put up quite a show.
They started off with a piece inspired by Khaled Hosseini’s A Thousand Splendid Suns. The pace at which the story was told was baffling. They moved on to a short music offering followed by a couple’s tiff fought through shayari in the Deccani-Urdu Nok Jhonk. Here, Imran Rashid’s performance stood out. Then came a young wife’s endearing letter to her husband working in a distant land in Biwi ka Khat Shauhar ke Naam wherein Sapan Saran’s act was highly engaging. Excitement, longing, momentary sadness, hesitation all vividly conveyed. Followed by The City Duet; an account of the romantic lives of two couples with contrasting backgrounds and temperaments in the bay. Our favourite piece, the performances of all four actors – Avantika Ganguly, Shivam Sharma, Gillian Pinto and Sukant Goel were extremely enjoyable and beautifully portrayed the struggles of life in a packed metro. Fermina Daza was enacted by veteran Shishir Sharma and then came Open Couple starring Shanbag himself and the impressive Natasha Singh. We’d never seen the director act; only watched a number of his fascinating productions. Hence, this was a treat! However, Natasha Singh’s power performance stole the limelight. This open marriage and its idiosyncrasies closed the 95-minute show.
As far as Sunil Shanbag’s productions go, we’d seen Stories in a Song and Sex, Morality and Censorship before – both excellent plays but they had the luxury of a theatrical arena on their side. Tamaasha Theatre has been established with the idea of promoting novel ideas and new talent in this sphere and encourage minimalistic productions; so this really cannot be compared. They put up an entertaining show and ran to a packed house the entire weekend.
You can get an in on the action July 5 and 6, 7:30pm at Avenue 29, Santacruz, Mumbai.
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