When Rajiv Krishnan of Perch saw Djibril Diop Mambéty’s Hyenes, a Senegalese film adaptation of Swiss-German dramatist Friedrich Dürrenmatt’s satirical play, The Visit, many years ago, he knew it was something he’d explore some day. And this Saturday, his home-grown production, Ms Meena, with Bangalore’s Rafiki, is all set to complete 50 shows. An out-and-out entertainer, the play, which premiered in 2010, has stood the test of time thanks to its quirky characters, innovative stage craft and great cast. And the director, playwright and lead actress tell us why we must revisit it.
“It is both humorous and grotesque,” begins Krishnan, who loves how the element of cinema lets him play with the music (written and composed by the actors) and with intercutting the scenes. He explains that the play is still fresh because they have shuffled scenes and actors, bringing in new interpretations.
To actress Karuna Amarnath, “It’s like performing a rock show. It appeals to all age groups—with characters and situations you can identify with.” She feels Ms Meena gets repeat audience (even after showing over 30 times in Bangalore alone) as “every viewing gives you something new.”
Playwright Rashmi Ruth Devadasan loves its physicality. “The actors themselves move the props to create things, like a temple. And everywhere we’ve performed, the audience always lets out this collective gasp when they figure out what just happened.”
Next up, the play will go to the Ranga Shankara Annual Festival in Bangalore and then to Mumbai. Tickets at `200. September 20-21, 7.30 pm, at Alliance Francaise.
—Surya Praphulla Kumar