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    The Tadpole Repertory from Delhi comes to town with a bag of strange, and interesting tales

    This weekend, the Delhi-based theatre group The Tadpole Repertory will premiere two of its latest productions in the city. On behalf of his group, its founder and artistic director Neel Chaudhuri tell us they feel a “sort of kinship with the Bengaluru audience”. That’s why they decided to open their new plays here, namely A Brief History Of The Pantomimes, and Gruesome Playground Injuries.
    “We have been performing here since 2008. Ranga Shankara (the venue for the new plays) is, especially, close to us. The stage is large, but it’s still intimate. Also, most theatre auditoriums in Delhi have become expensive. But Ranga Shankara continues to be affordable, and it has built a loyal audience over the years,” says the playwright and director, who has worked with the city’s theatre circle in the past.
    Chaudhuri, whose portfolio of plays features the award-winning Taramandal (2010), tells us what to expect from their visit.
    Sign language
    The tour will open on Friday with the performance of A Brief History Of The Pantomimes, written and directed by Chaudhuri. It’s about a community of people called Pantomimes, who decide not to speak to each other. Now, a set of historians, teachers and philosophers try to interpret their interactions (through minimal voice-overs).
    “Since this community didn’t speak, they had no means of passing on their stories. So their history is now being written by other people, which often is the case, isn’t it? If you look at history of the marginalised communities, they were written by people who were not one among them,” says Chaudhuri, who is looking forward to see how city’s theatregoers interpret the silent lives of the Pantomimes.
    Time travel
    Adapted from the play by the Pultizer Prize-nominated playwright Rajiv Joseph, Gruesome Playground Injuries chronicles the highs and lows of a relationship. It begins when the lead characters, Adhiraj and Ira, are eight years old, till they are about 38.
    “It’s a strange love story, but almost entirely identifiable,” begins Chaudhuri. He adds, “The play doesn’t unfold chronologically, but hops back and forth in time. But I think this displacement of time will let the audience construct the storyline, and it will engage them.”
    “In the play, Adhiraj suffers a lot of injuries. But beneath those physical wounds, there are a few injuries to his soul. You’ll see the couple tussling through their disappointments, as they grow older,” he shares about the production, which has been directed by Neel Sengupta.
    The Tadpole Repertory will conclude the Bengaluru tour with their third production, NDLS, which has been staged successfully since 2013. NDLS is a collection of short sketches – comic, dramatic, musical, satirical and even serious ones. These stories are set in and around Delhi. “While we have a bank of a hundred sketches, we have picked our best ones for Bengaluru,” says Chaudhuri.
    December 4-12.
    At multiple venues.
    Details: sandboxcollective.org
    — Barkha Kumari

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