Theatre Review: One on One 2 | Verve Magazine
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August 16, 2015

Theatre Review: One on One 2

Text by Shraddha Jahagirdar-Saxena. Images courtesy Rage Productions and Showhouse

Loved the ‘monologue’ show One on One? Even if you missed it, here’s a chance to catch the riveting sequel

One on One 2, a Rage Production presented by Showhouse, stars Rajit Kapur, Anu Menon, Neil Bhoopalam, Hussain Dalal, Sumeet Vyas, Shikha Talsania, Zafar Karachiwala and Gopal Datt, and has a string of directors and writers including Rahul DaCunha, Rajit Kapur, Nadir Khan, Sumeet Vyas, Ashish Jagtiani, Akarsh Khurana, Ayeesha Menon, Faezeh Jalali and Hussain Dalal. Much like the first, it showcases small playlets or monologues featuring a vast range of theatrical talents on a gamut of subjects, leaving the audience with much laughter, gentle smiles and a few tears.

The Themes: The several writers behind the acts – I’m Every Woman, Game (Set)ting and Match, Nobody, TC Rasbihari, Majnu, DJ Elvis, Dulhaniya, Khoon Pasina…Action! ­– have encapsulated a variety of situations on stage, presenting everyday and unusual moments with riveting insight. The audience find itself sharing the frustration of a young woman caught in the chakravyu of domesticity and motherhood and her individual way of dealing with it; the futility of war depicted through the eyes of soldiers at the border; the travails of a ticket collector in states that do not respect the letter and the spirit of the law; the bans that are invading and changing the face of culture as experienced by a DJ; the aftermath of the Nepal tragedy which is reflected in the final rites of a selfless doctor; the dreams and aspirations of a spunky bride and the chaos that runs through filmi productions.

The Acting: Under one roof, you are witness to a basket of dramatic performances. All the talents manage to give their roles the life they demand. You see in a short span a seamless spectrum of grief, happiness, frustration, romance, entertainment, excitement, futility, match and money making. Hats off to actors Faezeh Jalali, Rajit Kapur, Neil Bhoopalam, Hussain Dalal, Gopal Datt, Sumeet Vyas, Vrajesh Hirjee and Shikha Talsania.

The Form: It is pure entertainment. The short acts are capsules that hold your attention, telling the tale in a few minutes. It is to the writers’, directors’ and actors’ credit that the essence of the situation is effectively communicated. The set has minimal props – so with a minor addition or deletion one story rolls into another, with no wastage of time.


The thought behind One on One 2?
Our first One on One (that premiered in 2010) was a huge success, both because of the format of short playlets and because of the variety of stories being told. Rajit (Kapur), Shernaz (Patel) and I felt that the time had come for a sequel.

What made you choose these tales? 
We leave the choice of tale to the writers we respect. Ashok Mishra, Anuvab Pal, Farhad Sorabjee, Ayeesha Menon, Ashish Jagtiani, Sumeet Vyas and Hussain Dalal are all writers we enjoy working with. When we approached them, we asked them to write a 12-14 minute monologue on any topic they felt strongly about. These are their stories.

Handling such an ensemble cast…
Again, these are actors that we love working with, as well as directors we respect. Our greatest joy comes from the collaboration that we have with directorial talent such as Akarsh Khurana, Arghya Lahiri, Puja Sarup, Faezeh Jalali. Plus, Neil Bhoopalam, Shikha Talsania, Vrajesh Hirjee, Sumeet Vyas, Gopal Datt, Anu Menon and Hussain Dalal – what a line-up of actors!

Which one is your favourite?
I like a lot of the pieces. But I’m very fond of Ashok Jagtiani’s Khoon Paseena Action with Sumeet Vyas superbly playing a harried Bollywood producer – it is directed by Akarsh Khurana. And, I enjoy the way that Puja Sarup has directed the Dulhania monologue with Shikha Talsania. Plus, of course I’m biased about my own DJ Elvis with the fab Neil Bhooplalam.

Can we look forward to One on One 3?
Yes, work has begun on One on One 3. We’re hoping to open it November 2016.

Watch One on One 2 on August 22 (Chowdiah Hall, Bangalore), August 23 (Siri Fort, Delhi), August 28 (Sir Sayajirao Nagar Gruh, Vadodara), August 29 (Sophia Bhabha Hall, Mumbai), August 30 (Nehru Memorial, Pune), September 5-6 (GD Birla, Kolkata).

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