Home Chennai Enjoy a good laugh with ‘The President is Back’

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    Revisit well-known play, The President is Coming,A� by debutant Anubav Pal

    After the playa��s premiere at Mumbaia��s Rage festival in 2006, playwright Anubav Pala��s The President is Coming was catapulted to cult status, with a movie version inspiring a new wave of satire in Indian independent cinema. Theatre company Crea-Shakthi will soon stage a 90-minute revival in the city, keeping the story true to its free-spirited, irreverent nature. The story follows six contestants touted to be Indiaa��s best in their fields, competing to meet then President George W Bush on his visit to India in 2006. Packed with a generous dose of regional stereotypes and slapstick humour, every staging of the play has seen actors make it their own and interpret scenes and dialogues differently. a�?But probably the most fascinating part of this play is, unlike most that depend on the paraphernalia of sets, therea��s a minimalist approach with regard to the backdrop and the props,a�? says Amrithavarshini Venkatesh, about her debut directorial venture.

    Debut jitters
    Working under directorial guide Amitash Pradhan, 22-year-old Venkatesha��s move from campus theatre at IIT Madras to a full-fledged production is a major one. Her experience ranges from set design to acting, and taking the directora��s seat seems a natural progression. However, Venkatesh doesna��t deny ita��s going to be challenginga��the script calls for a delicate balance between improvisation and retaining the genius of the original humour. a�?The focus of the whole play is on the body language and comic timing of the actors, and the bunch Ia��m working with are a unique mix of actors. So reconciling our differences in terms of what works and what doesna��t has been a tough but insightful journey,a�? shares Venkatesh. What makes this a play that performers and viewers revisit from time to time? Venkatesh attributes the timelessness of the production to well-constructed tropes and commentary. a�?Whata��s fascinating about the story is its relevancea��the discourse on social mores and what the youth wants never gets old,a�? says Venkatesh, adding, a�?Another retentive value is the incredibly interactive nature of the script.a�? Clear indicators that 2006 or 2014, the President will continue to matter.

    At The Music Academy Mini Hall at 4 pm and 7 pm. Tickets from Rs. 200. Details: creashakthi.com.

    a��Divya Karthikeyan


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