Theatre Speaks

Chitralekha Rathod
Actress

Which is the last play you liked and why?
MAREEZ...For I have always believed that it is more difficult to create a simple production. And the simplicity of the set and the subtle and extremely gripping acting made for a mesmerising experience.

Your favourite adda to see a play...
I have very fond memories of spending my whole day alone at Prithvi, with a book, sitting in a corner of the cafe and watching every single production during the Prithvi Carnival that was organised in memory of Jennifer Kapoor. And also, Bhartiya Vidya Bhavan, Chowpatty for the plethora of new and out-of-box productions hosted there during the annual competitions.

Your favourite playwright...
George Bernard Shaw to pick one. And Vijay Tendulkar.

Your favourite play-character...
Elisa Doolittle from PYGMALION. A character very close to my heart.

A play you would like to see filmed. Why?
SAKHARAM BINDER. To witness the craftsmanship that can weave its intricacies together with dignity.

A novel/short story you would like to see on stage? Why?
The King of The Dark Chamber by Rabindranath Tagore, for two reasons, first being that this was one of the first plays written by him and secondly for the underlying spiritual message that the story holds.

The most hilarious play you have seen...
AME BADHA SAATHE TOH DUNIYA LAIYE MAATHE - Gujarati and HAMLET- THE CLOWN PRINCE

A play, which is over-hyped...
LEGEND OF LOVERS - A MYSTICAL LOVE STORY by Alyque Padamsee

An important play (but ignored):
NOTHING LIKE LEAR and years ago I had seen a play surrounding the delicate subject of hysteria called TAPISH, directed by Hrishikesh Koli during a drama competition. That play has stayed with me for more than one reason.

A play character you would like to "dialogue" with...
Viola from TWELFTH NIGHT

A passage from an important play that you can recite...
The scene in PYGMALION where Eliza Doolittle attempts to small talk at a sophisticated gathering and opens a conversation with the imeless, "The rain in Spain stay mainly in the plain..."

A classical play that you should have read...
THE TROJAN WOMEN by Euripides. Looking forward to indulging in this tragedy soon!

A play that changed your perception about the theatre....
7 x 3 = 21 (Saat Teri Ekvis) -- experiencing 7 stories, 7 messages, 7 moods on one stage. It opened my horizons to the endless possibilities that creativity and imagination can give rise to.

How do you regard the Mumbai theatre scene?
Like a field sown with seeds of beautiful flowers waiting to blossom but in need of the careful attention, sufficient resources and a sensitive audience to entertain.

Have you read any interesting books/articles concerning the theatre? Why did you find them interesting?
I recently happened to read excerpts of Philip Auslander's Liveness: Performance in a Mediatized Culture that was written years before the OTT platforms took over the world let alone the Coronavirus pandemic. Discussions around this subject will continue to be intriguing as well as important given the debate of authentic art-forms vs adaptive art forms.

Can you recall an event that was insightful, significant or simply humorous in your theatre journey?
Just when I was out of school and beginning my theatre journey, I was fortunate to have witnessed several insightful sessions conducted by eminent theatre personalities at BHAVAI- a national drama competition. My most significant take-away was learning the Forum Theatre - Theatre of the Oppressed in a workshop conducted by Pritesh Sodha. Another one event that significantly shaped my understanding of what a theatre journey could be was doing backstage for TCT and observing the discipline and burning passion of the artistes and learning the basics of the art of lighting from Gurleen Judge during Khwaab- Sa.

Can you think of a foreign production that you found remarkable? Why?
With the much awaited release of Hamilton, I could finally relish the splendid production and witness its Hip-Hopera style.

Your favourite director/actor/music or set designer...
Director- Atul Kumar, Rajat Kapoor
Actor- Pratik Gandhi, Atul Kumar, Dharmendra Gohil, Geetanjali Kulkarni

A significant Indian production that you may have witnessed.....
PIYA BEHRUPIYA - a nautanki style adaptation of TWELFTH NIGHT by The Company Theatre.

Life in the theatre without the humble batata-wada or the cutting chai... or can you recall the best gastronomic experience you've had in the precincts of the theatre to date?
From sipping Prithvi's famous Irish coffee anxiously before a show to enjoying the humble caramel custard near Tejpal auditorium after a show gone well, food around theatre precincts have always been very emblematic to me!!
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