Molly Sweeney: Exploring the inner self
With minimal cast and props, a monologue obviously depends on words to connect with the audience—a connect Molly Sweeney, to be staged from 10-15 October in the Capital, hopes to establish.
“It is certainly more challenging for an actor to do this. There is no movement, and we cannot depend on props or other actors,” says actor Vidushi Mehra, who plays the title role of Molly Sweeney. The play will be performed at the new experimental theatre venue, OddBird Theatre.
Adapted from a two-act play by Brian Friel, it focuses on Sweeney, a confident, smart woman who is blind. A doctor manages to restore her eyesight partially through surgery. Sight, however, leaves Sweeney feeling confused and disoriented, and she loses her mind.
The play, being performed in India for the first time, will be directed by Rehaan Engineer, and star Mehra along with Samar Sarila as Dr Rice and Farhad Colabavala as Sweeney’s husband Frank.
The play has the three characters sitting on chairs under spotlights, with minimal set design. They talk to the audience and their inner selves, not to each other, sharing their perspectives about the surgery and what follows.
“Molly (Sweeney) comes across as someone who is extremely comfortable with who she is. She has never viewed her handicap as a handicap. But suddenly having to learn how to see makes her feel incomplete. Through my monologue I have to convey both the pathos and ethos of this woman,” says Mehra.
Other characters have their own troubles. Rice, once a successful ophthalmologist, becomes an alcoholic when his wife leaves him for someone else. He hopes to regain his lost respect and reputation after operating successfully on Molly.
“I will try to convey all this, and yet my world view of someone who has ‘seen it all’, through my dialogues and very little body movement,” says Sarila.
Molly Sweeney will be performed, from 10-15 October, 8pm, at OddBird Theatre, Dhan Mill Compound, SSN Marg, Chattarpur. The 2-hour play is open to ages 14 and above. Tickets, Rs600, available on www.odd bird.org
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