On the 4th of November, Manipal bore witness to a stellar event by Ada Dramatics. ‘Error 404 – Love and Laughter Not Found’, their Main Production of the year was a two-play event comprising of the plays, ‘The Virtuous Burglar’ and ‘Kalpana’. Both the plays revolved around human relationships and the concept of love.
THE VIRTUOUS BURGLAR
Based on Daario Fo’s play by the same name, this seemed like a farce. A farce is usually very difficult to perform considering the amount of physical comedy one has to do in performing silly and ridiculous moments in the play. The play revolved around a burglar and the married couple whose house he tries to rob at night, followed by a hilarious chaos when it’s revealed that each of them is cheating on the other, bringing the burglar in the middle of a crossroad. The Directors Riddhima Singh, Ashwin Karthikeyan, and Shweta Pal did a wonderful job with the story and its execution.
The best performance was undoubtedly by the burglar— played by Akash Ramesh— who managed to impress the audience with his timely dialogues and expressions. His energy throughout the play was a delight to watch.
Sabhya Bajaj did a good job with his role as the husband of the house. His carefully thought manoeuvres on stage helped him to do justice to his role. Apart from dis-remembering quite a few lines here and there, he managed to pull off his character very well on stage.
The burglar’s wife was perfectly played by K Sai Namratha. This role required a hilariously superior aura which Namratha seemed to exude extremely well. Her loud and clear voice, well-timed expressions and dialogue delivery made this character effectively funny.
Akshara Rohit— who played the husband’s lover, Julia— portrayed her character with the utmost ease and precision. Even though the British accent she tried to pick up seemed overdone at a few places, her performance, in general, overpowered that faulty aspect in her portrayal of Julia.
Shweta Pal— portrayed Anna— played the wife of the house and did so with the utmost elegance. She portrayed the character of a strong opinionated woman effortlessly. Her excellent command on language and character made her one of the best performances of the night.
Sanjay Mani played Antonio. Antonio is Anna’s lover who later turned out to be Julia’s husband. He had a very short but pivotal role in the play. Considering how vital his part is in the play, a little more work could have gone in the grooming of the character. There were moments wherein he seemed to snap out of character on stage.
All told, The Virtuous Burglar was a light-hearted play and had the audience’s attention from the very beginning to the end although the monotonicity of the play could have been worked upon a little more. The musicians and the sets team did a commendable job in making the play the success that it was.
“It was very important for the play to be visually appealing. The sets did not need to be pretty or exact but colourful and smart. Images had to be incorporated using the character’s body in such a way that the relationship between the characters is established”, said Riddhima Singh, one of the directors of the play.
Kalpana— a self-written play by Paulomi Ghosh and Raghav Batra was undoubtedly the
the best play of the night. Smooth transitions between scenes, beautiful direction, and a commendable cast ensemble were some of the best highlights of the play. The play tells the story of Kalpana, a divorced woman who is a painter by profession struggling between motherhood and her own quest for love.
Paulomi Ghosh— who is also one of the directors of the play— portrayed Kalpana in the most convincing manner and had the audience’s attention throughout the course of her presence on stage. She played Kalpana with utmost finesse and grace. In the play, Kalpana develops feelings for Viraaj— played by Raghav Batra— but is hesitant to open up about it to her children. The viewers find themselves in a jarring state when it is revealed towards the end of the play that Viraaj was all this while her imagination and nothing else, a character very similar to her ex-husband Karthik who she loved so dearly— Kalpana was suffering from schizophrenia.
Karthik—played by Shantanu Sachdeva— put forward one of the most versatile performances of the night. From playing a romantic lover, a doting father to a drunk frustrated husband, his acting skills had left the audience in awe. His character was one of the strongest in the entire play.
Raghav Batra— who played Viraaj— stood out with his palmary performance. Stellar execution, timely delivered dialogues, convincing portrayal of the character are a few aspects that made him stand out the way he did.
Shivangi and Midhun— who played Kalpana’s children, Riya and Arjun respectively— played significant roles in the play and were quite compelling.
“The transitions in a play are what grabs the audience’s attention. The linking of the scenes is what makes it smooth. And the most difficult part for me was to play the lead along with directing the play. But overall it was a wonderful experience”, said Paulomi Ghosh, one of the directors of the play.
This play managed to take the audience on an emotional roller coaster with swings of comedy in between. As the basic setting of both the plays was of a household, the sets and props used were very minimal and almost the same. The evening, in conclusion, took the audience through a journey of many emotions or ‘rasas’. The evening started with ‘hasya ras’ (laughter), transformed to ‘shringar ras’ (love), and then finally ended with ‘adbhut ras’ (surprise). The second play ended with a standing ovation by the audience followed by the curtain call.
–Riya Peter for MTTN
Images Courtesy-Shishir Kumar and Almas for MTTN