Catch Neil Simon’s rom-com The Star Spangled Girl tonight
Theatre actor-director Karthick Sekar has always been a Neil Simon fan. In fact, he’s already staged two of the American playwright’s short plays from the series The Good Doctor. He likes the way Simon breathes life into his characters, unfolds the layers of emotions inside each one of them through words or gestures.
Tonight, Sekar’s team from Wild Horse Entertainments will perform yet another of Simon’s works, called The Star Spangled Girl.
Set in 1966, it’s the story of Andy and Norman who run a magazine to fight “the system” in America. Then enters Sophie, an Olympic swimmer, in their lives, in their neighbourhood, to be precise. And it’s love at first sight for Norman. Unfortunately, Sophie falls for Andy instead. Now the triangle threatens to destroy the magazine, and Andy and Norman’s friendship.
But The Star Spangled Girl was not the quintessential Simon hit. The reviewers back then wrote that “Simon seemed out of his element writing about politics”.
When we asked Sekar, who plays the role of Andy, why he chose this particular story, he said, “Yes, I am aware about the reviews. But we have tried to focus on love, friendship, and complex human behaviour that is integral to the plot. While we can’t easily understand the political situation of 1966-America, we are all familiar with love and friendship, aren’t we? The play is a romantic comedy at heart, and we want our audience to have a good time watching it.”
Sekar, who is also directing the play, says that donning two hats was never a task. He says, “We are a three member-cast. I play Andy. Varun Naik plays Norman, and Prarthana Gupta is Sophie. So it’s fairly easily to switch between acting and direction. The only challenging aspect was understanding American politics of that time.”
By mid-2016, Wild Horse Entertainments, which has been around for more than a year now, is hoping to move forward from adapting, and writing a few original plays. That’s the big plan for the year.
January 8. At Vasanthnagar. 5 pm and 7.30 pm. Tickets (Rs 250)
at the venue.
— Barkha Kumari