Monkey And The Mobile

When Dutch nature photographer Marsel van Oosten visited the hot springs of the Jigokudani Monkey Park in Japan, he bore witness to a rather interesting incident (which he captured on camera, of course). He saw a Japanese macaw, or snow monkey, snatch an iPhone from a tourist and move away with it to the middle of the hot spring.

“That picture is brilliant," laughs Rajiv Krishnan of Perch, a Bengaluru-based performance collective, adding that the title of his play, Monkey And The Mobile, was partly inspired by this photograph. “It depicts the monkey looking at that phone in a way that is remarkably similar to human beings," he says. The play will be staged in Bengaluru from 11-13 March.

Technology, specifically the mobile phone, is the theme of this production. “We wanted to do a play about an object, and mobile phones are probably one of the most pervasive parts of our lives today. It is a multilingual play and not very text-driven," Krishnan adds.

The play attempts to capture the dependency of people on mobile phones through multiple stories: some funny, some dark, and some a bit of both. There are incidents culled from real life as well as some that are merely a figment of the imagination.

One story, for instance, explores the relationship between an elderly couple—the man is very protective and does not let his wife go out alone. “So the phone becomes her only means of communication," says Krishnan.

There are other, more outlandish characters, such as a family of emojis and Selfie Gopal. What they all essentially do is explore larger themes like identity, control and memory through a pastiche of music, imagery and movement.

Monkey And The Mobile will be staged at 7.30pm (11 March) and 3.30pm/7.30pm (12-13 March), at Ranga Shankara, JP Nagar, Bengaluru. Tickets, 200, available at the venue and on in.bookmyshow.com. For details, call 9886334291.

Preeti Zachariah

Barff

In Delhi, meanwhile, actor Saurabh Shukla’s play Barff will make its second appearance this weekend.

Ten years ago, Shukla heard a story from his friend, writer-director Ranjit Kapoor, about a day in the life of a doctor who agrees to make a home visit when two people beseech him to save their sick child’s life. “What follows is a bizarre series of events," says Shukla on phone from Mumbai. “It makes you stop and wonder why the doctor goes along with things, why he chooses to act the way he does, and how do any of us decide what to do next?"

Barff, based loosely on that story, was written as a film script. It transformed into a theatre production after Shukla got a call from the National School of Drama (NSD), asking him to bring a play to NSD’s Bharat Rang Mahotsav; it premiered in February.

The play is set in Kashmir; a deviation from the original story that Shukla says Kapoor gave him for a film project. After getting the rights, Shukla struggled for months to find a way to somehow tether the story and make it believable. It finally came together for him on a trip to Kashmir two years ago.

“Because of the insurgency, entire villages have been deserted in Kashmir. There were ghost towns in many places," says Shukla. “And because of the way Kashmir is, the people there have held on to their culture and their innocence," he adds.

“The action of Barff takes place in one or two settings. In that sense, it lends itself well to a stage production," says Shukla.

He adds that another reason he was interested in adapting Barff for the stage was that there are not many Hindi thrillers for the stage.

Barff will be staged from 11-13 March, 8pm, at the Kamani Auditorium, Copernicus Marg, Delhi. Tickets, 300, 500, 750, 1,000, 1,500, 2,000 and 2,500, available on in.bookmyshow.com

Chanpreet Khurana

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