Theatre Speaks

Saif Hyder Hasan
Playwright, Director and Producer
[Hindi/English Theatre ]

Which is the last good play you saw and why?

I loved PITAJI PLEASE by Makrand Deshpande for the honesty with what he was trying to say.

Your favourite adda to see a play...

It used to be Prithvi. I'm figuring out a new space. Prithvi is no more what it used to be. Content and ambience have both gone south.

Your favourite playwright...

Many .... in college Sophocles, Shakespeare, Marlowe, Sartre ... then came the Marathi playwrights .... Tendulkar, Elkunchwar, Alekar ... I enjoy the writing of Dattani and Javed Siddiqi. And how did I forget Ibsen and Strindberg?

Your favourite play character...

Ghalib from Sayeed Alam's GHALIB IN NEW Delhi, And Miss Benare. And King Lear.

A play you would like to see filmed. Why?

I would love to see the characters of TUMHARI AMRITA come alive. Forget the letters, create a new universe for Zulfiqar and Amrita with the same story. The story has so much fabric to it.

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

THE BROKEN NEST by Tagore which has been made as CHARULATA by Ray can be made into a fine play. It goes into a personal space and its core is uniquely lyrical.

The most hilarious play you have seen...

GHALIB IN NEW DelhI in its earlier avtaar

A play which is over-hyped...

MUGHAL-E-AZAM. The sets and performances were contrived, the live singing flat and the production design banal.

An important play (but ignored):

MANTO by Barry John

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

I'd like to sit and have coffee with all of Shakespeare's tragic heroes

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

To be or not to be...

A classical play that you should have read...

Kalidas' s plays

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

C FOR CLOWNS was a game changer in terms of the visual imagery and Tendulkar's GIDHHADE for its sheer power

How do you regard the Mumbai theatre scene?

Divisive. But for the audience a bag of goodies

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

Shanta Gokhale's book on Tendulkar made me appreciate his craft even more

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

My biggest learning has been goof up on stage but goof up with such conviction that the audience does not realize what has happened since it does not have a script.

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

MOUSETRAP. Obviously.

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

Feroz Khan is my all time favourite director.

Chetan Chand is a brave and enterprising light designer

Two actors who are fabulous but have still to get their due are Digambar Prasad from Delhi and Sukhada Khandkekar from Mumbai

Parivesh Singh creates beautiful songs that have visual imagery to them. Ratnesh Bhagat is great at background scores.

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

MUGHAL-E-AZAM. Despite all its flaws it's a brave attempt both in terms of scale and content. It brought thousands of uninformed members of the audience closer to the original epic. And using chaste Urdu in these times is a feat that must be applauded.

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?

Mathri chai in Shankar Market Delhi forms a major chunk of my formative years in theatre
 
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