Parul Rana

Direction : Vikram Kapadia
Writer : Vikram Kapadia
Cast : Vikram Kapadia, Dipika Pandey, Akshay Datta, Amishka Sood, Hrishabh Kanti, Ariana Sajnani, Aaryan Deshpande, Nadeesh Bhambi, Kashish Sharma, Nihar Dhanraj, Ojaswi Bhattarai


Water Lily's THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH is a musical written and directed by Vikram Kapadia. It is a satire on politics, communism, capitalism, and how media functions in the modern world.

The play opens with a group of co-workers brainstorming ideas for a Diwali episode of a reality television show. The creative head of the production house alerts the CEO to an Instagram post announcing a suicide by a person upset with the government`s neglect of the common man. They eventually come up with an idea to show this sensational act live on television. After all, what could grab more eyeballs and viewership than a person committing suicide? "If it's a murder it's interesting but if it's a suicide then it's all the more exciting."

The crew eventually manages to trap the individual through a fake audition and have him portray a godman who would ultimately commit suicide on the Diwali night episode. "If you want the public to like a reality show, the subject can't be a minority." The person is named Vikramaa with special emphasis on "aa" in the name. Vikramaa gains popularity over time and wins over everyone's heart. The team gradually begins to turn against their CEO as the situation changes.

The play ( plot reminiscent of films like MeetJohn Doe and Network) talks about the role of the media, in both news and reality television. It shows how reality television shows can go up to any extent to increase their viewership and what is at stake for the people who are making these so-called creative decisions. There's always a kingpin and in this story, it's the CEO. He runs the business more like a dictator and everything about him reeks of problematic issues from creating a hostile workspace to sexually harassing staff members. Even though the topics it discusses are gloomy, the play never feels heavy because of the music and the funny banter. There's a commentary on capitalism, communism, the religious divide, the role of the media, and ownership of media outlets.

What stands out about the show is that the choices made to deliver the political statements and dissent are very clear and done with the utmost transparency which keeps the interest of the audience hooked at all times. All the topics discussed in the piece are related to real-life occurrences that we have frequently heard about in the media, which makes it thought-provoking as well. There are plenty of surprising elements in the play that add to its pleasure and enjoyment. The music composed by Rohit Das and the team is commendable. The show is very well choreographed and the actors appear to be on top of their game.

Only in the second part of the play does it possibly feel a little dragged out. Overall, the play discusses themes that are relevant in today's time, and the music, dance, and humor keep you entertained for two hours.

*Parul Rana is a theatre enthusiast and movie buff.

 6:00 PM, Sat, September 30 Prithvi Theatre, Mumbai (map link)
 9:00 PM, Sat, September 30 Prithvi Theatre, Mumbai (map link)
 5:00 PM, Sun, October 1 Prithvi Theatre, Mumbai (map link)
 8:00 PM, Sun, October 1 Prithvi Theatre, Mumbai (map link)

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