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    Roald Dahla��s James and the Giant Peach comes rolling into town as a bilingual

    It was lack of timea��to write a screenplay to dA�but at Prithvi Theatrea��s summer festival last yeara��that got actor-director Gagan Dev Riar to look online for inspiration. Having never read a Roald Dahl book, he stumbled upon an adaptation of James and the Giant Peach and was hooked. a�?I chose it because I believe in magic. Ia��m a dreamer and someday, Ia��d like to take a journey like James,a�? laughs Riar, who has since begun reading Dahla��s books.

    Cult 19B 1A�The 33-year-old, who says the 100-minute play is his most popular directorial (his previous two didna��t get much visibility because of lack of funding), has adapted the story for Indian audience. a�?Jamesa�� journey starts in Mumbai and ends in London. I also made it a bilingual so more people can understand it. In fact, when we come down to Chennai (next week), I plan to bring in some local flavour,a�? he says.
    But he did face some challenges, especially the technicality involved in portraying the storya��about a young boy who sets off on a giant peach to explore the world and makes a variety of friends, from caterpillars to ladybugs, along the way. a�?The story is very cinematic and to bring that on stage is tough. After considering shadow play and projections, I decided to use the audiencea��s imaginations instead. Like in the scene where the peach comes rolling down a cliff, the actor throws a giant ball into the audience and asks them to pass it around to save themselves from being crushed,a�? he explains.
    With original songsa��written and composed by Riar and his cast, and performed live on stagea��and a quick Hindi primer at the beginning, it promises to be interactive and fun.

    July 24, 6 pm, at the Music Academy. Rs 350 onwards. Details: eventjini.com


    Surya Praphulla Kumar


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