Yesterday, as a part of The Hindu Theatre Fest 2015 here in Chennai, I went for what has turned out to be my bestest play of all time – and I watch plays. But this is not a review. (That I’ve done as a part of what’s called the Citizen Review – readers of the paper and viewers of the play write in with their takes in 50-150 words. The most polished entries get some fourth-estate real estate – are published – a couple of days later, and the best wins a dinner for two at The Park, a leading hotel here.) I’ve dashed off my take, but won’t post it here until the end date, for The Hindu should get first right. (Saintly me.) While I wait, crossing my fingers (am dictating this on my speech-to-text converting app; ha, no), thought I’ll talk about something else that weak-kneed me about the play.
Sometimes, an ad for something can be its logo too. A recent example is that for McCafe.
The one for this play, given the rich content and keener intent (spark a dialogue on gender stereotypes), easily tops that. But first, about the play.
Ila, by Bombay (Mumbai)-based Patchworks Ensemble, co-founded by Puja Sarup and Sheena Khalid, and in only its sixth show yesterday, draws on The Pregnant King, a short mythological tale by “India’s best-selling mythologist”, Devdutt Patnaik. One night, the titular king ventures into an enchanting forest, only to soon realise it’s enchanted too, thanks to Shiva’s presence there: the domain is Shiva’s den during his amorous moments, for which the lord casts a spell that anyone invading it during his “plays” there will have their gender changed. But not to be too hard on the mistaken soul, there’s a partial rollback – he/she will get back his/her gender, slowly, as the moon wanes, and then will lose it as gradually as the silver orb waxes. Good old Hindu mythology. The play takes on from here and flies… into a Bombay local train, but as I said, this is Irfanvertising and not IrfanOfPlays.
What this is about is the delightful artwork featured here – as droolworthy as the story/play.
What this is about is the delightful artwork featured here – as droolworthy as the story/play. The full moon forms an androgynous face (not long, not oval), blood-red sindoor (vermilion) represents the feminine side, the stiff handlebar moustache portrays the masculine side, the brown tones bring up the humanistic element. The stars on the sides complete the mystical features. Just like the play, a perfect 10.
To read a review of the play, go here: http://www.mumbaitheatreguide.com/dramas/reviews/19-ila-english-play-review.asp