Play Review: ‘One on One’
An incensed airline passenger, a terrorist who wants to participate in a reality show, and a lamppost located on the edge of the Bandra-Worli Sea Link are among the characters that mirror life in contemporary India in Rage Productions’ latest play One on One. A set of ten short plays—each around ten minutes—by nine playwrights, One on One is the result of a writing workshop conducted by the theatre group, which was formed 15 years ago by actors Rajit Kapur and Shernaz Patel, and director Rahul Da Cunha.
The plays in One on One range from the funny to the disturbing to the plain obscure, with the more humourous pieces proving to be best. ‘The Bureaucrat’, written by Anuvab Pal and directed by Kunaal Roy Kapur, depicts a government servant at three different stages of his life (played by Anand Tiwari, Neil Bhoopalam and Bugs Bhargava Krishna respectively). The play, which arcs through five decades, is a clever comment on corruption and bureaucracy in the country. ‘Load Shedding’, written by Farhad Sorabjee and directed by Nadir Khan, is a monologue by a lamp post (Anand Tiwari) that lampoons the state of the state of Maharashtra. Tiwari impresses as much for his ability to deliver his lines with his tongue firmly in cheek as for his ability to balance himself atop a ladder through the length of the performance.
‘Dear Richard’, written by Nadir Khan (also the director) and Akarsh Khurana based on a real letter sent by Oliver Beale to Virgin Atlantic, features Rajit Kapur as an irate traveller bitterly complaining to Richard Branson. Kapur, slightly over-the-top, is enjoyable to watch because of his canny body language and combination of sarcasm and disbelief.
Of the more serious pieces, writer Purva Naresh and director Akarsh Khurana’s ‘Aabodana’—one of three plays in Hindi—is a finely nuanced vignette of small town folk struggling with and eventually embracing life in a big city. But ‘White On White’, written by Maia Katrak and directed by Pushan Kripalani, about a woman (Shernaz Patel) coming to terms with her son’s marriage, feels underdeveloped because you’re left searching for a reason behind her angst. You’re equally underwhelmed by ‘Instant Behosh’, written and directed by Rahul Da Cunha. A fictional account of one of Kasab’s co-terrorists who wants to take part in TV dance reality show Nach Baliye, it suffers from a flat plot that is neither funny nor grim.
Overall, there are more hits than misses, and One on One works because it manages to successfully address a number of contemporary issues without feeling too weighty or frivolous.Tags: Akarsh Khurana, Anand Tiwari, Anuvab Pal, Bugs Bhargava Krishna, Farhad Sorabjee, Kunaal Roy Kapur, Maia Katrak, Nadir Khan, Neil Bhoopalam, One on One, play reviews, plays, Prithvi Theatre, Purva Naresh, Pushan Kripalani, Rage Productions, Rahul Da Cunha, Rajit Kapur, Shernaz Patel, Theatre
National Centre for the Performing Arts
Relevant DatesSunday July 18, 6.30pm
Ticketing & Price InfoRs120, Rs180, Rs240, Rs320, Rs400