Promising old favourites and a fresh outlook, Michael Muthu is back with An Idiot for Dinner
It’s been six years since Michael Muthu first directed An Idiot for Dinner for the theatre group, Evam. Well-received wherever it was staged, including Bengaluru’s Ranga Shankara, the founder of Boarwalkers is reviving the comedy for a second edition. “It is a lovely script and one of the better comedies I’ve come across. I decided to stage it again because there is a new audience out there who hasn’t seen it,” says Muthu. Of the 10-member cast, only one actor reprises his role from the original—Sarvesh Sridhar, who plays Golden Gopu, the idiot. “For the rest, I had actors in mind and, fortunately, most of them said yes, including Amit Singh who is back on stage after a hiatus to play the income tax inspector,” he smiles.
The situational comedy is an adaptation of the French film Le Dîner de Cons—about a group of businessmen who bring an ‘idiot’ to dinner once a week for their entertainment. “I scripted the 90-minute play with the original (which has also been made into a Bollywood film, Bheja Fry) as a point of reference. But I’ve Indianised and localised it, with a lot of Chennai-specific Indian English and jokes,” he explains. While the fresh cast brings a new dynamic and flavour, Muthu admits he faced a few challenges. Like finding a girl to play one of the key female roles. “I wanted someone between 20 and 23 and it took me almost four weeks to find one. There seems to be a dearth of quality female actors in the city,” he rues, chalking it down to lack of options and the fact that many turn to TV and films, never to look back.
With a minimalist set—“we have scenes in a park, a railway carriage, a club, and finally at the house, but the changes are all done subtly”—Muthu explains that he’s tried to keep it real. “There’s not much of a music track. It’s mostly sound effects and some strains at the beginning and the end.” Promising that it’s nuanced and that the audience will get more than just laughs, the director, whose last production was Twice Around The Park, says, “It is not one of those dead comedies—it plays on many levels and there are some life lessons that you will learn from it.” Next up, he hopes he can travel with the play to cities like Bengaluru and Hyderabad.
May 16-17, at the Museum Theatre, from 7.15 pm. Rs 200 onwards. Details: eventjini.com
Surya Praphulla Kumar