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    Joe Bone on playing a tough-talking hitman in a celebrated British play, that is coming to Chennai courtesy Evam

    It WAS during the theatre festival at Edinburgh last year, that the Evam group watched Bane, a one-man, one-musician comedy drama, and decided to bring the duo to Chennai. This play by UK -based Joe Bone and Ben Roe holds the Guinness Record for ‘Maximum characters played by a single actor.’ “The director plays around 135 characters. This is like one of those James Bond meets Indiana Jones kind of plays. It has a lot of action and drama,” says Sunil Vishnu, who started Evam with Karthik Kumar in 2003.

    “We met them at Edinburgh where we performed Ali J. His play was mind- blowing and we most certainly wanted to get him down to India. Imagine a guy carrying an entire play by himself and doing so many characters,” says Vishnu. As part of supper theatre, the play will be enacted at Savera Hotel, on February 11, “We have already performed at Bangalore and will be going to Mumbai and Singapore after the performance in Chennai,” continues Vishnu.

    Character analysis
    With no props or sets, Bone plays all the 135 characters and  Roe plays all music in the thrilling and fast-paced production. Gun for hire, Bruce Bane, is the central character and he must find out who is trying to kill him before it’s too late. “In this play, Bone combines Hollywood motifs with sharp theatrical techniques, live music, and hilarious physical action. ‘‘The two of them have won several awards and have travelled to several theatre festivals,” Vishnu informs. According to Bone, the play is a trilogy. “We are just performing Bane in Chennai. We have a Bane part two and three. It is a very exciting, clever play and we are working on bringing the other two plays to India, too. We came up with this idea keeping in mind all the movies that we have watched as children. I loved movies like Back to the Future and we have tried incorporating the action sequences, comedy, detectives and crimes in the play,” says Roe.

    Not Batman
    For those who are hoping the play is related to Batman, Roe clarifies, ‘‘The play has nothing to do with the movie. The play is called Bane because names like Bruce Wayne and Bane are very catchy. Of the 135 characters, I play a scientist, professor, a boss, etc,” he says. In order to improve their play, both Bone and Roe have paid a visit to dancer Anita Ratnam’s residence. “I have to change so many characters in a short span so I visited her residence, so she could teach me some dance techniques. We even had some sessions in movement,” says Bone. Regarding  their stay in Chennai, both artists say they have taken to Indian food, “We love the spicy food. We tried chaat yesterday and will be going to Pondicherry tomorrow,” Bone concludes.

    At Savera Hotel, on February 11, from 7 pm onwards. Tickets are priced at Rs 750, inclusive of supper. Details: indianstage.in

    —Mrinalini Sundar

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