Theater Watch: Aadhe Adhure is a tragic and touching play

Aadhe Adhure is a brilliant play by a brilliant author – Mohan Rakesh. You have to read some of his works to understand what you might be missing out on by not having read enough hindi literature.

The play was staged by Prime Time Theater Company and stars Mohan Agashe, Lillette Dubey, Ira Dubey, Rajeev Siddharth and Anushcka as the Nath family – Mahendra, Savitri, Binny, Ashok, and Kinny, a family torn at the seams.

Binny ran away from her home at a tender age with a man she thought she was in love with. Ashok is an aimless young man. Mahendra himself has been an unemployed man, and is a house husband. Kinni is a 14 year old girl not happy with making so many compromises in her everyday life, and crossing the threshold of being just a kid. And Savitri is the bread earner of the family, a woman with many wishes and desires from her and a woman who is perennially unhappy with the fact that the others in the family are not doing their bit. Not enough.

The first half of the play takes you through the threadbare relationships in the family, with Mahendra deciding to leave the family one day (which he does quite often apparently), and Savitri deciding to not care about anyone else’s but her own wishes. The number of times things are left half said makes the plot intriguing and you keep looking for the dirt that has been swept under the carpet. The secrets that every family has, the unexpressed emotions that often explain the expressed ones better.

The second half introduces two new characters – Jagmohan and Juneja. Jagmohan is from Savitri’s past and Juneja is a friend/mentor of Mahendra. How the endgame takes you to a very subtle understanding of human desires and how people keep looking for something more than what they have. The meaning of “Aadhe Adhure” is revealed here. That is what the play is all about.

As a cast, Mohan Agashe who plays 5-6 different characters (including Mahendra, Jagmohan, Juneja, etc.) , Lillette playing Savitri and the Rajeev playing the son are the pick of the lot. Rajeev has the angst of KayKay Menon, the way he carries himself. Lillette is the center piece of the play and is wonderful in her portrayal of a middle class woman, conservative in her life but liberal in her mind and actions. Mohan Agashe, with his subtle changes across the different characters that he plays is phenomenal. The personality swifts from the forgetful but lecherous boss to the playboyish Jagmohan, to the pedantic Juneja, and to the broken/frustrated Mahendra are extremely well played out.

It’s a two act play, and the set (which is the Nath household) is detailed but static. In fact, it is one of the more detailed sets that I have seen in recent times. Maybe, because, it must be a fairly old play. And the set is true to a low income household from a few decades back.

This one is not a comical fun play. Rather, it’s a play that makes you think too hard, and I am sure the Experimental Theater at NCPA (especially the side balcony seats) is not the best place to enjoy it from. But it’s an excellent play and must be enjoyed.

 

I would strongly recommend watching this one.

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Theater Watch: Nothing Like Lear

After Hamlet, the Clown Prince, the expectations from Rajat Kapoor and Atul Kumar’s combo (Cinematograph and the Company Theater) were high. Nothing Like Lear starts with a similar setup, but hardly anything similar in execution. Unlike the theatrics, the collective effusion and humor in Hamlet, Lear depends on the brilliance of Atul, since it is, but, a monologue.

I consider myself reasonably well read, but not enlightened in equal proportions. So, yes, I had read shakespeare’s dark work quite some back, but of course, I do not remember quite a few fine details and all the underlying tragedy. So, the first fifteen minutes were tough on me. I was trying to remember just as I was trying to be in the moment. The point where I let go of this trying to remember, I drew the same conclusion as I did the last time I saw Hamlet – these guys are brilliant. What an interpretation! For Rajat and Atul to merge so many characters, right from Lear to Edward to the fool to the sisters, into one actor and so beautifully, I fail to imagine what level of intellectual and theatrical brilliance would have been required.

This play is not the funny and hilarious kinds that Hamlet was. So don’t expect a laugh riot. There are the usual pepperings of jokes and fooling around with the audience. Bu this play is tragic. And there are times when the drama gets you.

I must mention here how effortlessly the clown moves from being just a clown to being a set piece in that epic tragedy, and Atul right now, would probably rate as one of the finest theater actors we have. Right up there with a Naseer.

I dont want to speak too much, for the real joy of the sunrise is in seeing it, and not just hearing telltales about the round burning globe of fire in some poet’s soliloquy. Go watch it. You may compare it with Hamlet, and say that Hamlet was better, but that does not make this one be nothing.

 

This, to me, is what theater should be – brilliant intrpretations, great execution, and out of this world performances.

 

4.5 on 5 for me. Hamlet was a 5, of course.

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