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Serious Men looks at the scientific community from a fresh perspective

ADAPTED for theatre from Manu Joseph’s award-winning novel of the same name, Serious Men is about  Ayyan Mani and Acharya Arvind, each brilliant in their own way. Successful astronomer, Arvind, who almost won the Nobel prize, is trying to discover alien life and get a deeper understanding of the universe, while Mani, his assistant, aims to give his family a better life, away from their tiny one-room home. Mani’s 10-year old son Aditya, an apparent budding science genius, acts as a stimulant to the story, his actions on the verge of affecting the lives of many people.

Creative interpretation
Featuring a 13-member cast, the stage adaptation and direction is by Nikhila Kesavan who has previously worked on adapting novels such as Five Point Someone by Chetan Bhagat and Jhumpa Lahiri’s Temporary Matters for the theatre. “While staying faithful to the plotline of the novel, this play attempts to imaginatively bring alive Manu’s compelling story on stage,” Kesavan tells us. “It involves a lot of contemporary and urban themes and therefore is very relevant and relatable,” she adds.

Quest for truth
Involving a richly conceptualised set of quirky characters, the storyline is continuously connecting Mani and Arvind’s search for the truth and takes a closer look at politics in the scientific community. It also brings out the class differences in society and provides a refreshing take through various perspectives. “It’s a significantly long novel with a complex storyline. So adapting it was challenging but also very exciting,” Kesavan shares.
Having premiered in Chennai in September last year, the play comes to the city at the invitation of Tata Institute of Fundamental Research and is being staged at National Centre For Biological Sciences.

March 29 and 30. At Dasheri Auditorium, Bellary Road. Entry free. Details: indianstage.in

—Rashmi Rajagopal

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