From looking at queer love in Meeta ki Kahani to old women who kill in Joseph Kesselring’s Arsenic and Old Lace, the 2019 edition of Summer Theatre Festival by Shri Ram Centre for Performing Arts (SRCPA) is staging historically robust and pertinent stories.
Sameep Singh, Chief Repertory, SRCPA, says the treatment and selection of the plays differ every year, after gauging the current demand. “Over the course of 12 months, we ascertain what people are regularly watching and what they would like to watch in the future. So here we are, offering powerful narratives performed by seasoned actors with innovative new sets, freshly imagined costumes, and keenly composed music to give you great summer entertainment,” says Singh.
We’ve rounded four plays for you to catch, incase the lineup feels quite a mouthful.
Meeta ki Kahani (June 9)
The play displays strongly-held taboos around sexuality. It brings to the fore the psychological and emotional struggle of Meeta who develops feelings for another girl Nama. At first, Meeta finds herself bewildered with her surging emotions, which she thinks is ‘abnormal’. Through this drama, playwright Vijay Tendulkar, comments on the societal dysfunctional and how queer feelings are perceived as condemnable, despite the abolishment of Article 377.
Urubhangam (June 12)
Playwright Bhasa condemns war and every microcosmic suffering it leads to. The play depicts how war brings physical loss but also ruthlessly crushes the soul. He shows how political agendas are the catalyst for destruction. All this has been depicted through the villain who stands transformed when death knocks on his door. It shows how war and violence can make even the merciless humble in fear.
Dilapidated (June 14)
This light-hearted play shows two diametrically opposite teenagers united in a way that is eternal, but they are oblivious to it. Reshmi is outgoing, boisterous, and full of life, but Zafar is a shy, introvert. He wouldn’t want to be caught dead in the company of Reshmi, but life has other plans. After all, he has a job to finish... Playwright Kaushik Bose shows how despite something beginning on a sour note can end in love. How dissimilarities are not roadblocks but roadmaps for the future.
Arsenic and Old Lace (June 16)
This Joseph Kesselring’s play was written in 1939 but has undergone many adaptations. This one by Director Nayana Sagar. At the centre of this farcical black comedy is the peculiar D’silva family of Vasai. The two old ladies here kill lonely old men who come looking for accommodation. They do this by lacing their wine with arsenic. One nephew is a psychopath killer who changes his face through plastic surgery to evade the police, while the other one is a schizophrenic who thinks he’s Hitler. The only sensible family member is Bobby D’silva, who has to deal with all of them.