High expectations were riding on this show. One could tell by the dozens of people pouring in to the Alliance Francaise auditorium recently. Latecomers, unfortunately, had to settle for the steps.
Presented by Stray Factory in association with IndiBlogger, the third installment of The Great Indian Blogologues was supposed to surprise, tearjerk and maybe even offend. So when three guitarists and a percussionist opened the show with a fun jam session, we were ready for the action. That is, original desi blog content adapted for theatre. But the musicians on stage outstayed their welcome after song four, at which point the first blog piece finally made it to the stage.
The Horizon was a poetic account that led us into the mind of the lead vocalist of an Indie rock band. Depressed by the fact that music today is more about “social-dos” and money making, not the art itself – he sang one last sad song, then jumped off the ledge of his latest concert venue. Suicide may have been a hard hitter for act one, but given the number of avid music lovers in the auditorium — the message was much appreciated. It begged the question: will this be the end of the indie rock band era?
Then there were scripts that tickled your funny bone – with elaborate digs at Indian politics, cultural jokes and a much cheered on rendition of the song, I am a Malayalee by Yohan Chacko. If you didn’t catch the performance, you may want to check it out on YouTube, just for a good laugh. Maybe the only dampener of the evening was a case of nerves that had one first time actor walk off stage, mid-performance. Sadly he did not make it back.
Without a doubt, the play of the evening was One Pearl directed by Cassius Leon. A prostitute meets a stylish working woman on a train and tells her story. A mix of Tamil and English, the performance tugged at one’s heart chords, while at the same time was generous with its comic relief. Hats off to Vinodhini Vaidyanathan who made her role of a prostitute, just as endearing as her sense of humour.
Also a must mention for its strong impact was Shakthi. Directed by B Krishnakumar who acted in this one-man piece as well, this was the tale of a man who yearns to be a woman. We follow him on his journey of being alienated by family, the need for acceptance, a role play of a mother filled with heartache at the thought and finally an illegal sex change operation. Yowls of pain from an operation table bathed in red light made for some disturbing visual imagery, definitely rated PG. But after it all, there was thunderous applause.