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    The side effects of technology get a new spin with Perch’s production, Monkey and the Mobile

    Perch’s production, the multilingual Monkey and the Mobile, is about how technology has taken over our lives today and, in keeping with the theme, a showmanship of technological gimmickry has been hemmed into its every aspect. Think actors who will be brandishing cell phones on stage to capture images that will be screened live on a projection. Or actors tweaking a part of the soundtrack for the play.

    Tech talk
    The play has been developed as an interesting exercise in devised theatre, wherein actors organically develop the script as against setting out with a bound script book, often considered sacrosanct. “When we started, we only had the theme of technology. The stories emerged as the cast and crew discussed it,” explains director Rajiv Krishnan. The result: six short stories in English, with a smattering of Tamil and Malayalam. They range from a fictitious gesture contest between two phone addicts to a tweaked version of the folk story, Monkey and the Crocodile (which explains the title of the play). At a more serious level, the play will explore concepts like a person’s identity, memory and control, as affected by technology.
    Having premiered in Chennai last year, before travelling to Bengaluru and Pondicherry, it returns to the city considerably changed, Krishnan explains. “We’re constantly reworking the play, honing it, based on feedback from the audience and the actors, doing away with what hasn’t worked and making additions when necessary. For example, we’ve added a song at the end of one of the plays, on the life cycle of an emoji, because we thought it summed up the story better,” he says.

    Live play
    Each of the plays will be accompanied by projected images, most of which will be captured live. “We didn’t want to use pre-recorded images because actors then have to adjust the timing of their performance in order to sync it with the images being projected,” explains Iswar Srikumar, one of the five members of the technical team. The images—sometimes interactive and sometimes used as a backdrop—have been planned such that the subjects can be captured by actors from the stage, and projected live. “The audience may not always be able to observe that the images are being taken from the stage though,” he adds. Likewise, an actor can control the timing of any particular layer of the sound for perfect synchronisation with his performance, he explains.
    On June 18-19, at Alliance Française, at 3 pm and 7 pm. Free entry. Details: 28279803

    —Sharadha Narayanan

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