Le Chayim Theatre Productions comes back to the city with a gutsy performance
Mumbai-based groups, Le Chayim Theatre and Black Boxers Productions, bring Martin McDonagh’s critically acclaimed play, A Behandling in Spokane, to Jagriti this weekend. Directed by Kashin Shetty, a seasoned thespian, the play is a “black comedy” that touches upon racism. Sticking to the original script, Shetty feels, does true justice to McDonagh’s style that he has drawn from for the second time. “His earlier play, The Pillowman actually launched my theatre career,” says Shetty who debuted along with Le Chayim at Thespo Bangalore in 2006.
The group subsequently continued staging their various productions in Mumbai and return to the city after a hiatus of eight years.This time, his cast comprises young yet accomplished theatre and film actors — Prabal Panjabi (Mere Dad Ki Maruti, Mujhse Fraaandship Karoge), Abhishek Saha (Lafangey Parindey, Hayavadana, So Many Socks), and Shweta Tripathi (Zenia from Kya Mast Hai Life).
“The plot revolves around Charmichael, a white supremacist who has been searching for his hand that had been chopped away and stolen almost two decades before,” explains Shetty who also plays the protagonist for this performance. “It is set in a dingy hotel where Charmichael is set up to meet a weed dealer and his girlfriend who promise to give him back his hand for 500 dollars,” he adds.
The drama unfolds when Charmichael is given a black man’s hand instead of his own and his racist instincts are unleashed. Trapped and threatening to murder the dealers, his only accomplice turns out to be the lobby boy, who is ironically black. “He continues to hunt for his hand for the rest of the play and whether he finds it or not is the suspense,” Shetty enthuses.
What makes this one especially interesting however, is the classic humour drawn from racist references and innuendos that are truly American. “I found that the Indian audience was a lot more receptive to this kind of humour and readily got the American references. That was something I was initially apprehensive about,” he shares.
What is more, there is plenty of scope for these budding actors to convincingly portray diverse American groups and dialects. “They have no make-up and look pretty much like Indians so when the play starts, most people wonder what’s going on. But this cast embodies their roles so well that within a few minutes you look past the surface and get drawn into the emotion and the parts they are playing,” concludes Shetty.
`250. August 27-31. At Whitefield. Details: 41242879