This is a compilation to give you easy access to our top updates this year. The list include plays of course, but we also felt that this year we could do things differently and include our reviews, interviews and features as well. We hope you enjoy reading these and if you already have, we hope the recap will be worth your while.
We have deliberately chosen not to include reviews of the plays listed here since their obviousness cannot be overstated. Rather we have chosen to highlight other reviews we published this year and which we feel matter just as well.
Similarly our selection of interviews and features brings together a body of writing, which we think is relevant. Our selection of interviews is special as it focuses on some of our wonderful women theatre artistes and their work. There is also a long interview with celebrated Italian director Roberto Frabetti known for his work in childrenâs theatre.
The list of plays, with which we begin, includes regional and foreign productions as well as a theatrical one-man narration of a famous Marathi autobiography - all of which were staged/screened in Mumbai in 2016.
THE DEEP BLUE SEA: Director Carrie Cracknell and actress Helen McCrory once again make for a combustive show after the Greek tragedy MEDEA; this time with Terence Rattiganâs acclaimed play set in post-war Britain. The show was screened as part of the NCPA-NT Live collaboration. McCrory outshines in the deeply troubled and despairing figure of Hester Collyer.
KHIDKI: KHIDKI, as our reviewer Jayashree Hari Joshi writes, is an âintelligently staged, well-designed productionâ of Dario Fo's famous 1970 political satire AN ACCIDENTAL DEATH OF AN ANARCHIST in a contemporary Marathi adaptation, directed by Vipul Vilas Mahagaonkar.
THE THREEPENNY OPERA: Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weillâs famous musical about the people down in the dumps is one of theatreâs foremost dramas and an unusual opera. The NCPA-NT Live screening took place this month. The National Theatre production directed by Ruffus Norris in a contemporary, comic-cartoonish adaptation by Simon Stephen, may not always be trenchant, but is still very good.
HOTEL PARADISO: The Germany-based theatre company Familie FlÃ¶z known for its physical, mime, and mask theatre was in Mumbai courtesy AGP World. Superb performances with great masks turned a simple premise into lovely entertainment.
MUGHAL-E-AZAM: Theatre too can be a blockbuster. The Feroze Khan directed MUGHAL-E-AZAM fits the bill and makes a stunning spectacle.
ANTIGONE 2.0: The famous Greek tragedy finds contemporary resonance with a group of adolescents who do a pretty decent job of staging it. Credit goes to director Gerish Khemani and The Pomegranate Workshop where the youngsters were trained.
SHADOW: Directed by Santanil Ganguly of the Kolkata-based group âJhalapalaâ. This childrenâs play was part of the TIFLI festival for children and young audiences earlier this month. In a simple, non-fussed setting, four meticulous and thorough actors warmly communicate the experience of a specially-abled person in gibberish and in silence with a spot of shadow theatre.
RAMNAGARI: based on the eponymous autobiography of its famous author Ram Nagarkar. Its quick, irresistible, and telling humour sums up the life experiences of the writer-actor in a caste-ridden society. Yet it is never bleak. Ram Nagarkar performed many, many shows, always to great laughter. Now his son does.
FAR AWAY: Caryl Churchillâs enigmatic dystopia, directed by Rehaan Engineer, and performed by Kalki Koechlin, Sheeba Chadha and Vivek Gomber was not an easy text to stage but it nevertheless left an impression.
AGNES OF GOD: The production of John Pielmeierâs play was bound to create a controversy and it did when Poor Box productions staged it. Mahabanoo Mody Kotwal who has directed it, also acts in it with Anahita Uberoi and Avanti Nagral. Nagralâs mellifluous voice and Fali Unwalaâs majestic backdrop make the Church palpable.
Notes on Bitef: A fifty-year old international theatre festival from the Balkans