Sunday, February 27, 2011

The President Is Coming

Caught a very funny play yesterday. It's called 'The President is Coming'. Apparently, it was adopted into a movie too- that got critical acclaim- but I did not catch the movie. Though I am glad I watched the play. It was conducted in the experimental theater at the National Centre for Performing Arts (Ncpa). This is one of the five theatres in the NCPA complex; the others that I have gone to are the Tata Theatre (where many large-scale production houses showcase their plays; entrance from the main Nariman Point road) and the grand Jamshed Bhabha theatre (entrance from the sea-touching promenade side of the complex) where usually the Orchestras are conducted.

The Experimental theatre has a very distinct setting to it. Instead of a usual theatre setting where the sitting is in the front of the stage, the experimental theatre has sitting in the front, at the sides and there is a balcony (you enter the main hall through the entrance much like everybody and then climb the steps right after you get in, to go up on the balcony which looks like a clutch of two rows of seats on a large platform, hoisted above. Very aptly, it is called the Experimental Theatre; infact choosing seats online (if you haven't gone there already like was the case with me) could be tricky. I played safe and chose the medium-priced tickets. It was my first at the Experimental Theater. Our alloted seats turned out to be at the left side of the stage, though I recommend the front rows facing the stage.

The play started sharp at 8 pm, though it could have been five to 10 minutes here and there, but I did not notice. The play is set in 2006 when then-US president George Bush visited India and wanted to meet "the new India". It's about a group of six young boys and girls who compete with each other- reality show Big Boss style- to win the coveted chance (given by the US embassy) to be the one to meet and shake hands with the President. As the competition begins, the gloves come off slowly but gradually, as the contestants try various tricks in the book to outsmart one another and gain the upper hand in the competition. The play runs for little less than 2 hours with an interval thrown in. The show is directed by Q Theatre Productions (Q stands for Quasar Thakore Padamsee; one of the four- or was it three- founders of the production house). Well-written script, good direction, brilliant performances and tongue-in-cheek humour that will keep you applauding and asking for more. Going to the Ncpa is always a pleasant experience, especially if the play turns out to be great.

Don't miss it.

(picture credit: Q Theatre Productions' monthly e-newsletter blog '')

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