Director Michael Muthu brings back Biloxi Blues, a play he directed in 2005
Michael Muthu first directed the play Biloxi Blues for theatre group Evam in 2005, as part of The MetroPlus Theatre Festival. The classic Neil Simon comic play was well received back then and was one of the primary reasons behind Muthu’s rise to fame. This time round, with a new cast, Muthu says the play is bound to be different. “The design is the same. We have not tampered with that primarily because of two reasons—it suits our budgets and more importantly, it works,” he begins. But why make the play after 10 years? “It is one of the best comedies I have ever read. I think there is a new audience for it and, most importantly, I have this bunch of extremely talented young actors,’’ he says. ‘‘I wanted a play that could feature all of them and Biloxi Blues lent itself perfectly.”
For those who are disconnected, Biloxi Blues is about a bunch of young men who get drafted into the war and follows their lives in a training camp in Biloxi Mississippi under a discipline-obsessed sergeant. “The play details their hopes and, literally, their fantasies before they are shipped off to die in the war,” says Muthu, who has previously made plays like Jesus Christ Superstar, Amadeus and An Idiot for Dinner. The cast sees actors like Sarvesh Sridhar, Gibran Osman, Biggu Chandaliya, Gokul Anand, Prashant Oliver, Sunny Abraham and Darshana Rajendran, who have been practising for more than 20 days. “They are some of my favourite actors and are playing characters that are very believable and real,” says Muthu, who is hoping to take the play to Bangalore, Hyderabad and Kochi.
According to the director, the Chennai theatre scene is getting bigger and better. However, he feels that Indian plays simply don’t have the quality of good American or British plays. They’re too self conscious and pass off their lack of confidence as doing ‘experimental theatre’, “Though, there are some in my opinion who transcend the mediocrity and are truly great writers.” About the younger theatre groups that have cropped up in the city in the past five years, Muthu says, “I have seen some nice work from Stray Factory — I think they are a very talented group; great direction.” Muthu concludes with, “If given a chance, I hope to take The Mahabharata – The Rock Opera Version, to Broadway.”
At Museuem Theatre, on January 11-12, at 7 pm onwards. Tickets from Rs 200 onwards. Details:indianstage.in
— Mrinalini Sundar