Theatre Speaks

Janak Toprani
Playwright, Director, Producer
[English Theatre ]

Which is the last good play you saw and why?

Not seen a play in India in a long time for fear of getting tempted to do a play and also because quality of theatre has fallen I think. Saw PHANTOM OF THE OPERA in New York last. Was obviously a rerun. A major disappointment.

Your favourite adda to see a play...

Used to be Prithvi, but last few plays that I saw were below the mark.

Your favourite playwright...

Neil Simon in English, Uttam Gada in Gujarati / Hindi. Vijay Tendulkar in Marathi

Your favourite play-character...


A novel/short story you would like to see on stage? Why?

Some of Kanhaiyalal Munshi s works.

The most hilarious play you have seen...

SAMBHOG SE SANYAS TAK.. I remember only that.. but have read quite a few

How do you regard the Mumbai theatre scene?

Thriving but not many venues. Venues like Prithvi that were meant to promote young talent have deviated from their original purpose...they pamper established players who ideally should have shifted to other venues making way for youngsters..other venues like the NCPA have become too commercial forgetting that they are there to promote art. Both lack clear long term vision.

Have you read any interesting books/articles concerning the theatre? Why did you find them interesting?

Many, from books on acting to directing that are interesting because they help you learn the craft.

If you have ever been a part of a theatre production/s, can you recall an event that was insightful, significant or simply humorous?

Produced and directed more than 25 productions.. have encountered many such incidents. Too many to list here.

Can you think of a foreign production that you found remarkable? Why?

Most of the Broadway musicals...and PHANTOM...when I saw it on the West End. Mainly for the technical expertise.

Your favourite director/actor/music or set designer...

Director - Late Kanti Madia and Sailesh Dave,.set designer MS Sathyu and late Vijay Kapadia

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?

Batata Wada and chai.
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