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Enter –> Stage right

January 12, 2011

I remember the first play I saw. Not a school play or community theatre, mind you. A proper play where you have to buy tickets (or if you are fortunate, score passes), a small pamphlet about the play and actors (what is it called, anybody knows?) is kept on your seat and you are reminded multiple times to switch off your cell phones. That play was a stage adaptation of the movie ‘Pulp Fiction’, a friend got us passes and for the two hours or less the play lasted, I sat in rapt fascination, mesmerized. This was five years back. From then till now, I have realized that I worship the theatre and will happily walk out from a movie to be oh-so-early for a play so that I can get decent seats (as it happened yesterday). Also…

If you call cinema hall ‘theatre’, you are probably not my friend.

The most fun play I ever saw was as lunch theatre. It was an interactive play, a murder mystery (called ‘The Karaoke Killer’) where the audience had to guess the murderer out of six suspects. I love plays staged by small groups (like ‘Dramanon’) as opposed to plays which are star-studded. For one, the low scale plays are in a small auditorium and have a tight packed familiar audience. The stage isn’t too far from anywhere you sit, the atmosphere is cozy and it feels as if you belong there, right with the actors on stage. I once went to a play which had Naseeruddin Shah and there were just too many people in the audience (most had come to just catch a glimpse of him) and too much hushed whispering. Mr. Shah was great, no doubt, but I was sitting so far behind in that humongous auditorium that it was more like listening to the play on the radio and watching a tiny speck of what I could only assume to be Mr. Shah (having obviously bought the lowest denomination priced ticket).

 Of course, the best thing I like about the theatre is the audience it attracts. I just love coming in early and observing all the nicely dressed men and women, old and young, men with ponytails and women with cropped hair and listening to tidbits of the scattered conversations wafting through the air.(Also, mostly, no crying babies!)

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