An ode to the Typewriter

A play based on the life of a typewriter salesman in Calicut of the ‘60s comes to town this week

Published: 25th February 2015 06:01 AM  |   Last Updated: 25th February 2015 06:01 AM   |  A+A-

QUEEN’S ROAD:Cheruvannur Diaries — Typewriter Tales, a production that Perch (Performers from Chennai) is bringing to the city this week, differs from its other work in many ways.

To start with, the theatre group seems to be presenting a storytelling performance. And it’s based on the actual experiences of the writer-performer of the show.

typewriter.jpgIt is a narration based on actor Paul Mathew’s experiences as a typewriter salesman in the sixties in a village near Calicut in Kerala. “I have been involved in theatre for about 46 years now,” says the 62-year-old, who once gave up his army career to be able to act. However, he later took up a corporate job with Godrej when he realised that it wasn’t easy to make a living off experimental theatre.  The simple folks he met then have found their way into the narrative.

Though it was written as a story, it’s taken on a form more like a casual monologue, Mathew, tells City Express a day before the four-show run of Cheruvannur Diaries... organised by Sandbox Collective.

The play is more than just a series of character sketches; it brings alive the culture of typewriter schools where many romances blossomed.

“The typewriter was the centre of every office back then, and a lot of out-of-school time was spent here, and this was where many relationships started,” he recalls.

 Watching the hour-long show has proved to be a nostalgic experience for many of its audiences so far. “People come up to me and tell me how much they miss the tuk-tuk of the typewriter. Did you know that Tom Hanks missed the sound so much that he created an app called Hanx Writer that will give your i-Pad the look and feel of typing on the typewriter?”

Cheruvannur Diaries — Typewriter Tales, on Thursday at India Foundation for the Arts, 7 pm; 1 Shanthi Road, on Friday, 7 pm; Beagles Loft, on Saturday, 6.30 pm; and Atta Galatta, on Sunday, 7.30 pm.

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