Theatre Speaks

Rasika Agashe
Actor, Director and Producer
[Hindi/English/Marathi Theatre ]

Which is the last good play you saw and why?

MOSAMBI NARANGI-- it was a fun ride. though I think the script can be tighter, and a little editing needed. But I am amazed with both the actors. Rajit Kapoor and Ajit Palawat have created wonderful performances. Acting is what we can see and appreciate in this play!

Your favourite adda to see a play...

Aah ..Prithvi .. as its close by.. close from home.. and I am also talking about the proximity for actors

Your favourite playwright...

Well, there are many. Vijay Tedulkar, Girish Karnad and Satish Alekar top the list though. But as I am reading lots of new plays by new writers, I see a lot of potential. Nisha Abdullah is one I am looking forward to!

Your favourite play-character...

All time favourite is Mother from A LONG DAY'S JOURNEY INTO NIGHT by Eigene o' Neill

A play you would like to see filmed. Why?

BEGUM BARVE, because this play has lot of unsaid things, a history, cultural relevance. If filmed, we can open this era to a larger audience. I can see it as a docu-fiction. Otherwise I don't think so the plays should be filmed as it is... it is all about taking a story line and making a new film script from that.

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

There are many..I used to like classics in all languages. But in today's scenario, I think writings of Teesta Setalvad and the book by Swati Chaturved (I am Troll), I would like to make in to stage plays.

The most hilarious play you have seen...

Ever? YADAKADACHIT! (Marathi )

A play, which is over-hyped...

Haha many.. aap bina baat dushmani karwaoge! But PIYA BEHROOPIYA... though all my friends act beautifully in it, and it's fun.. but feel its over hyped! I hope you are asking about production! not on script level!

An important play (but ignored)..

I cannot talk much as ignored plays fail to come to Mumbai, but I like to mention a play called TERAV (TEHRAVA ) performed by wives and daughters of farmers who committed suicide directed by Hrish Ithape.. needs its due

A play character you would like to "dialogue" with...

Ka su wa (kale suit wala adami from AADHE ADHURE). On other note ..
can I please choose Rahul Gandhi? (He is from a play called indian politics

A passage from an important play that you can recite...

Again there are many, but I like one from RASTE (by G.P. Deshpande), or Gandhari 's monologue from ANDHAYUG. I know this may sound very cliched, but well structured passages from plays are from the past!

A classical play that you should have read...

Due to my Sanskrit graduation, I read many Indian classical plays.. same goes with Greek and American classics, but I think I should read more.

A play that changed your perception about the theatre...

It was my own play MUSEUM OF SPECIES IN DANGER, like I always say, this play was a protest, a reaction..but with the final product in hand, I had a clear vision, of what is theatre for me, and why it has to be socio-political , and what kind of forms I need to work on.

How do you regard the Mumbai theatre scene?

it depends on, in what language you do theatre. I am mainly talking about surviving scenario. Creatively in every language, at least two good plays come every year on an average. I am part of Marathi, Hindi, English.

Marathi : it's ok.. often very commercial .. but generally surviving on nostalgia

English : I would say glamorised

Hindi : aaaah.. difficult .. as it not money generating, neither very vibrant
(I think it explains importance of language in this city!)

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

Yes I read.. books of all kinds on theatre, autobiographies of theatre people, books on acting, on directors. In india, we have very few documentation oriented books. we need more. I read few articles by Ramu Ramnathan. I find all of this necessary . these studies, their notes, history , it teaches us a lot. As I always feel, theatre is a fun thing , which we have to do very seriously.

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

That's a difficult one.. there are many .. I would like to share this.. this was not in making of play..this happened where we were having Bhopal edition of Sanhita Manch. I feel this is important to share because, many times we keep on crying theatre is dead! No one is coming to theatres, people are asking for passes and all.

So in Bhopal, as discussed with local organising team, Vihan theatre group, we kept Rs 50 tickets, as we did not want to make it a free show, as we couldn't afford the festival. People start coming in. suddenly three women came.. they were working in near by houses.. they thought its a free show.. so they came, when they realised its a ticketed show, and they do not have enough money, they came to me, and told me. I looked at their clothes, and asked the volunteers to give them free entry. And then one of the women said why free? We have some money. I said it's ok! You can go in, and these women said no no.. we have some money.. not full but take that from us, then only we'll watch, and we want to watch! I think incidents like this give us more strength to reach to new cities.

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

I remember one Hamlet production in Poland ! I can not forget it! ( I had a crush on the actor playing hamlet !) Most importantly their set design, where the whole set was kept on a pool of water, and it was getting pulled .. all of it. I basically envy many theatres abroad, because, they can create magic in the auditorium! Of course acting and direction and other aspects were out standing !

Your favourites (in Indian contest today)

As I have to say one name.. many are going to kill me !
Director: Anuradha kapoor
Actor : yes its Zeeshan Ayyub, but on stage Kumud Mishra !
Music Director : our beloved Amod Bhatt
Production Designer : Aashish Mehta
Set Designer : Robin Das (I know he is a very good director, and actor, but I love his set designs!)

A significant Indian production that you may have witnessed.....

As an actor? MIDNIGHT'S CHILDREN by Abhilash Pillai (my NSD days). As audience, COTTON 56 POLYESTER 84 (written by Ramu Ramnanthan, directed by Sunil Shanbag )

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?

Gone are the days with batata wada and chai, now everyone comes with their own protein shake ! And sprouts or eggs ! Yes in my own studio 'Antarang!' .. but however healthy the day starts, I have realised everyone finally craves for a road side Chinese ! And yes, thanks to Anna who come with small idlis and wadas on a cycle..
 
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