Theatre Speaks

Kyla D'Souza
(Actor, English Theatre
Founder - Artistic Director; The Peas & Carrots Theatre Co.)
Kyla D'Souza
Which is the last best play you saw?

Simon Stephen's THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME. Based on the novel of the same name by Mark Haddon, it is the most spectacular play I've ever had the pleasure of watching. Designed and directed beautifully with a cast that keeps you mesmerised from beginning to end.

Your favourite 'adda' to see a play

The Experimental Theatre at the NCPA.

Your favourite playwright

Hard to say! Sam Shepard, Oscar Wilde, Eugene O'Neil, Tennessee Wil-liams, Edward Albee and William Shakespeare are among my favourites.

Your favourite play-character

I've always wanted to play Sally Bowles from John Van Druten's I AM A CAMERA, which is a play that the musical CABARET is based on.

A play you would like to see filmed. Why?

I've never really enjoyed plays that have been adapted for the screen. Somehow the magic of the theatre just doesn't seem to transcend on camera for me.

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

Chronicle of a Death Foretold by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. It'd be interesting to watch a non-linear story unfold in front of a live audience.

The most hilarious play you have seen

In India: I thoroughly enjoyed Sunil Shanbag's STORIES IN A SONG. I thought it was well directed, superbly performed and the entire cast - musicians and actors - looked like they were having a blast on stage which infused the audience with this incredible energy that made us fall in love with them. Abroad: The Frog & Peach Theatre Company's A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM in New York. I was in it and I couldn't stop laughing!!!

A play, which is over-hyped

Samuel Beckett's WAITING FOR GODOT.

An important play (but ignored)


A play character you would like to "dialogue" with

Iago from OTHELLO. He's so bad..he's good.

A passage from an important play that you can recite

Gallop apace, you fiery-footed steeds, Towards Phoebus' lodging: such a wagoner

As Phaethon would whip you to the west, And bring in cloudy night immediately. Spread thy close curtain, love-performing night, That runaway's eyes may wink and Romeo Leap to these arms, untalk'd of and unseen.

A classical play that you should have read

ANTIGONE. Seen it, never read it.

A play that changed your perception about the theatre


How do you regard the Mumbai theatre scene?

Unfortunately, I can only speak about the English theatre scene in Mum-bai as I don't have much experience with Marathi or Gujarati theatre. It's definitely get-ting bolder and braver. Artists are taking more risks with their work which is fantastic. However, I personally feel there is a massive lack of respect for the craft that everyone proposes to be so passionate about. We also need to be far more professional when it comes to things like rehearsal protocol and etiquette. We need to change this "chalta hai" attitude that seems to have taken over us. Also, I wish we had more support from theatre organisations and performance venues. Enough with the ridiculous rental costs and constraints. It's hard enough doing what we do!

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

Twyla Tharp's The Creative Habit is a book I would recommend every artist, whether actor, dancer or director, read and keep close at hand. It's realisti-cally inspirational!

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

Disney India's BEAUTY & THE BEAST: The set caught on fire during the show's big number Be Our Guest. No one got hurt, stagehands quickly put it out and the show went on. As it does. That's why I love theatre!

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

Seriously - THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME. And also, Complicite's A DISAPPEARING NUMBER. Both these pro-ductions have been designed so intelligently, that the audience is transported seamlessly through time and space. It's an experience par excellence!

Your favourite director/actor/music or set designer

I respect and admire a lot of artists that I've watched and worked with, each for differ-ent reasons and through different productions. Meher Mistry was a tour de force as Belle in BEAUTY & THE BEAST - the strength and stamina she displayed while preparing for that role astounded me! Glenn Hayden's process as a director continues to excite me - as an actor you are both challenged to create and comforted by the fact that you're always in a safe space.

A significant Indian production that you may have witnessed

I loved Company Theatre's PIYA BEHRUPIA.

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?

Chai. There must always be chai.
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