ART by Evam

I went to see ART by Evam yesterday, again a part of Bengalooru Habba. The play originally written by Yasmina Reza, a French actress and playwright. The play is about three friends, who have moved a little apart with time, but the death nail comes when one of them, Sarge, buys a painting. And before you think it’s a serious play, the painting consisted of white diagonal lines on a white background, and Sarge paid a whopping two hundred thousand Francs for it (yes, that is 200,000!).

The play was hilarious. Marc, who was completely against Sarge, and thought he had lost his mind, and was acting pompous, was extremely sarcastic, and Yvan, the bummer who was getting married in a week’s time, gave such amazing expressions that the audience couldn’t help laughing. There was this whole story about contentions between his biological mother, his step mother, and his fiance’s step mother about their names appearing on the wedding card. Marc’s sarcasm and Yvan’s innocent expressions made the day!

The play depicted the relationship becoming sour — Marc’s superiority complex, Sarge’s antagonistic attitude end up almost leading to the breakup of the friendship. The play ends in a sort-of a happy ending, but did leave a few strands for the reader to figure out.

The acting was superb — Evam has been doing this production for the last three years and it showed. The actors were very natural, and Karthik Kumar as Marc and Sunil Vishnu as Yvan were brilliant. The subtle querulous sarcasm, and Yvan’s dumb yet innocent antics lit up the stage. The set itself was pretty elaborate, using more than 30 carton boxes as I had said earlier, to distinguish between the houses of the three friends. The lights worked very well in sync (with only one slip) and it spoke volumes about their practice. I myself was in splits, falling off my seats ever so often. A must watch, if it ever comes around.

I got to talk to Sunil after the play — we had talked when they were here last time with Five Point Someone, and then they came again with And Now For Something Completely Different (but unfortunately, I was away at the time). They are coming back to Bangalore on 25th Dec with another play, and I hope to see them again!

Some more reviews of ART: The Hindu Dinesh (He has a picture of the set also)

Aside: If the text was too much for you, and you share my interest in Web 2.0 and the rest of the random things on the internet, you might like this video:

Aside-2: If you ever get sick of computers, see here for some alternate uses.

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Films and Festival

Films featured high on my Sunday yesterday. I attended the Filmcamp‘s workshop on ScriptWriting in the morning at BrewHaHa. Sanjay Nambiar (hopefully I put in the right link here) walked us through the script for The Shawshank Redemption. I don’t think I can start capturing all the details here — but for me the biggest take-away was that you need to be quite detail oriented and be succinct at the same time while writing a script, because the rest of the cast and crew is going to rely on you to give them an idea about what they need to do. It should capture details about location, props, even lighting sometimes. However, it should not be too instructive lest it might limit the creativity of the rest of the rest of the team. The right balance between detail and leaving things open is something one can only get if one has participated in a full project perhaps. I have seen scripts of plays, and they are usually quite similar. For instance, along with all the dialogs that have to be prepared upfront (before you even sign the actors at least in the West!), you might also describe camera angles, voice-overs and so on. Unless you do that, you would not be very kind to producers :-)

What I was left wondering is that if the film is an adaptation of a book, how much changes, what they keep and what they leave out. It was a far more technical discussion than I had expected — and as such they didn’t discuss what differentiates good scripts from bad in terms of content and storyline.

Then, in the evening, I went and watched Om Shanti Om, and unlearned everything. Kudos to SRK and Farah’s guts actually, since they admit all over the movie that the storyline doesn’t make sense. And SRK’s usual overacting (even Kirron Kher — what happened to her?) and Deepika Padukone’s almost non-existent role (they could just have used a portrait! She was so over-hyped; she didn’t even have a role!!) didn’t help things either. The one single joke that I liked best was Soorat Barjatya noting down the ‘No Sorry. No Thank You.’ dialog he later went on to use in Maine Pyaar Kiya. The whole movie felt more like a show-off exercise by King Kong Khan (not to be confused with the other KKK). In fact, SRK has himself admitted this in the past, and I am at my wit’s end trying to understand what women find attractive about monkeys:

Shah Rukh Khan recently quipped that he felt ‘like a monkey’ out to entertain movie buffs!

“I am like a monkey who dances to the tunes of the director, producer and script writer, to entertain cinegoers,” Khan says.

“I even dance in my bathroom in front of the mirror!” Khan exclaims.

In other news, Bangalore is abuzz with Bengalooru Habba and there are some great performances. I am especially excited about the English Theater being held at Chowdiah, right beside my home. If you haven’t seen Kanyadaan yet, then you must most definitely go (see the earlier review I had written of the play). The best part about the Habba is that the passes are free and available at Cafe Coffee Day outlets around Bangalore. Don’t miss this!

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