Express News ServiceS Surendranath’s play Neenaanadre Naaneenenaa? contemporises Comedy of Errors and places it in Malleswaram. So much so that the play isn’t Shakespeare’s, the director says.
“It’s set in the 21st century,” he says, speaking to Bengaluru Express amid rehearsals. The Sanket production, featuring four experienced artistes as two twin master-servant pairs — Sihi Kahi Chandru, Srinath Vasishtha, Kalpana Naganath, Surabhi Vasishtha — has three shows coming up this week.
The play explores the chaos created by ‘communication gap’. “Since this is Comedy of Errors, I thought we could talk about the paradoxes of language, and how communication isn’t really easy,” he says.
So when one character says to another ‘Naan yaaru anta helu’ (Say, who am I?) and the other promptly responds with ‘Naan yaaru’ (Who am I).
The play is also a parody of sorts on pop cinema. “Characters burst into songs from Yaadon Ki Baarat,” says Surendranath. “And at the end of the film, everybody — the hero, heroine, the parents and the police — gathers for the climax, and no one asks why this happens. We ask these questions and laugh at it.”
He penned the play about 20 years ago, and it has changed a lot since. “No show is exactly like the other,” he says. And while this is true of most Sanket plays he writes and directs, it is essential for comedies, he says. “We improvise, and keep changing the dialogues.” Otherwise, “actors get bored”.
The play was only performed in 2006 during a Ranga Shankara festival. Since this production opened, he has directed another adaptation — Chandrashekhar Kambara’s Maari Kaadu. And the troupe, founded by Shankar Nag, is readying for another titled Shylock, as it only features two Merchant of Venice characters — the Jewish moneylender and Antonio — next March or April. Surendranath next plans to explore Othello.
So why keep going back to the bard? “Shakespeare is ever-relevant and doesn’t object to anything,” says Ranga Shankara’s artistic director.