Anyone passing by Student Plaza in the last couple of weeks would have encountered several members of Aaina Dramatics courting them to attend its main production of this semester—‘Mousetrap’.
The marketing paid off in the end and the play was performed to a sold out Syndicate Golden Jubilee Hall on the first of November 2018.
A classic whodunnit written by critically acclaimed novelist, Agatha Christie—the play has become part of West End legend, holding the honour of being the longest running play (65 years and counting).
A simple synopsis of the play clearly explains how the play has managed to run for so long. The play which is set in the 1950s on a snowy winter night in a guesthouse called the Monkswell Manor which has very recently begun running as a business establishment after being converted from a household. The guesthouse is in a nondescript village cut off from the outside world with no road or phone connectivity. As snowfall continues through the long cold night, six guests who know nothing about each other arrive at the guesthouse on its first night of operation and one among them is a cold-blooded murderer.
Beginning a good 30 minutes later than promised—Aaina’s adaptation of the three-act play began slowly with the setup taking painfully long. The exposition progressed at a better pace with the actors truly showcasing their character’s eccentricities.
Being the last play performed by Aaina’s outgoing seniors, there were huge expectations. Thankfully, they didn’t disappoint with every actor and actress taking on their roles exceptionally. However there were a few who stood out. Druti Singh playing the lead- Mollie Ralston carried the entire weight of the play on her shoulders. To come back scene after scene and deliver so many lines effortlessly, she was simply phenomenal. Pawan Kurada displayed true acting prowess while portraying a wide range of emotions as the young troubled Christopher Wren. He left the audience at the edge of their seats – making them laugh one minute and giving them the chills the next. Saurav Upadhyay as Pavacini, a mysterious foreigner, left everyone in doubt as to whether he was the perpetrator of the murders with his cynical lines.
A cliffhanger in the form of a gruesome murder, just before the interval ensured that the audience raced back to their seats to witness the rest of the play. The murders were brilliantly executed and without argument, the biggest highlight of the play, the lights and eerie music adding to the grotesque nature of the crime committed.
‘Mousetrap’ was an interesting watch from a psychological viewpoint as the characters were traumatised from their painful childhoods. The lines in the play reveal that despite growing into adults, the trauma they faced as children still haunts them. The entire crux of the play thus was the traumatised adults taking revenge on every character involved with their childhood.
The set managed to encapsulate the era perfectly in terms of costumes, props and the background. The background score which was partly pre-recorded and partly live added more depth to each scene.
The eight actors held the crowd’s attention for over two hours, a throwback to the era the play is set in where plays were the mainstay for entertainment. Ending with a thunderous applause, it was a bittersweet moment for every member of the cast, being the last play they would perform in during college. The calibre of the actors and the professionalism of every member of ‘Aaina Dramatics’ certainly earned them a few fans who will be back to watch what they have to offer next
“But what stupendous good fortune! What an answer to prayer”
— Visesh Murali for MTTN
—Photographs by Pruthvin, Shashank and Deepak for MTTN