Double Bill: A Review

Theatre brings life to words and is an exaggeration of the feelings we express in our day to day life. It is a break from our monotonous schedule. To be able to live another person’s life- the only place where you can let your emotions take over you.

On 23rd August 2018, Aaina Dramatics put together their debut event for this semester- Double Bill. This two play production took place at the MIT Library Auditorium.
The evening comprised two plays- The Brother’s Wife and Chuhal.

THE BROTHER’S WIFE

Paul Howard Surridge’s, the Brother’s Wife is probably one the playwright’s most famous play. Aaina dramatics attempted to remake this supremely elegant piece of writing, with their cast and crew.

A successful staging of this murder mystery demands a well-co-ordinated cast and smooth proceedings. Aaina’s production did precisely that. The directors Druti Singh and Aditya Samadhia captured the entire essence of the play brilliantly.

The most authentic acting in this one-act play comes from Gaurav Chatterjee who plays Rod Taylor, the careless brother of Joss Taylor. The audience cannot forget the exhilarating scene where Rod grieves the murder of his wife. His booming voice and gripping command over his character left the audience dumbfounded making it perhaps the evening’s best performance.

Astha Garodia was a perfect Ginny Galgut. Her impeccable comedic timing and constant rants about her cheating husband felt like a breath of fresh air in this gripping murder mystery.

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Apart from giving the Police Inspector information that might prove detrimental to the arrest of Rod, and consoling Giny, her only other job was to open the door when guests arrived. Shivalika Chaudhary vividly portrayed the role of Penelope Taylor. Her vivacious character and gripping act towards the end of the play was impeccable.
Shashank as Inspector Collman looked the role but lacked the authoritative character an Inspector possesses.
Joss Taylor vividly characterised by Rakshit Yaduvanshi put up a brilliant performance. Almost flawless, Rakshit managed to convey the character’s deceitfulness.
Isha Apte as Suzie successfully managed to express her undying love for Joss as well as her discreet resentment towards every other character in the play. In a twist of events, she reveals herself as the killer and puts up a brilliant performance threatening to kill Joss. Her raw character and resounding delivery made her the audience favourite.
The numerous sexual innuendos and the gripping performances kept the audience entertained throughout this fifty-minute drama.

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The production’s design was minimalistic and quite effective. The attire was befitting to the characters, and there was nothing to fault apart from the unnecessary baton Inspector Collman held on to throughout the entirety of the play. The lighting and music gave the play an entirely new dimension.

Overall the production leaves one with strong, mixed feelings. The entire performance set the bar very high, for the next play.

CHUHAL

Chuhal unveils itself in layers, delivered in little snippets as it goes back and forth in time, sometimes in action and sometimes through narration. Manav Kaul’s Hindi play was originally written from a female perspective back in the 90’s. Given its underlying themes, Chuhal forays between issues that are as relevant as in the times past – raising pertinent questions about the way unmarried women are treated; how their personal choices are not accepted by society. The directors Prateek Singh and Varun Kapoor managed to put together this humorous yet reflective play.

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Maulik Jain did an excellent job reproducing Sudheer’s humble and honest character. His delivery and diction were unerring.
From the way she carried herself, to her expressions and comedic timing, Sudheer’s younger sister Nimmi played by Ayushi Mehrotra was nothing less than perfect. Every time she came on stage, whether it was to sing discordantly or to be her brother’s wingman, the audience would erupt into fits of laughter.
Aarti, the protagonist, is one of the most delightful characters in this play. Her bold and straightforward attitude was encapsulated by Esha Poddar. The way she carried herself made up for her monotonous delivery.
Shreya Bansal as Aarti’s mother aided in keeping the humour alive throughout the play.
Although the waiter/ peon was a minor role in this play, his comedic timing was the saving grace of this humdrum production. With his witty one-liners and excellent acting, Nikhil Dubey stole the show.

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Very few people appreciate the work that goes on behind the scenes.
This play comprised of multiple sets, both indoor and outdoor. The props were well put together, and the scene change was timely.
Focusing on the right spots, and using appropriate lighting was done well by the technical team. The live band helped in amplifying every emotion conveyed by the actors.
Although, parts of the play were preachy; the social message overriding a more natural flow, but the overall ethos brought to the fore by an earnest cast, made this production endurable.

The evening showcased stellar performances which were a result of the team’s hard work and dedication. It was the perfect ending to a long weekend.

Reviewed by Janice Coutinho for MTTN

Photographs by Arvind Krishnan and Dhruv Pandey

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