Rock a�?na�� roll takes on the Bible, with some street style thrown in, in Freddy Koikarana��s latest production.
Jesus in jeans. The image isna��t sacrilegious, not when it is part of the latest edition of the longest-running rock opera, Jesus Christ Superstar. The controversial 1970 musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice has seen many interpretations, including one by city-based theatre director Michael Muthu. But this year, the reins are changing hands, with Freddy Koikaran and Denver Anthony Nicholas giving it a go. And, as it turns out, both serendipity and a lack of funds have helped shape it. Hours of discussions crafted a script that is very a�?todaya��; phone calls and auditions got them a cast of professionalsa��like lead actors Prashant Oliver and Sunny Abrahama��and amateurs who wanted to perform just for the love of theatre; and the (late) entry of actor-producer Amit Singha��s The Royal Flush Productions helped them smoothen the rough edges.
Interpreter of melodies
a�?I am not a fan of musicals that dona��t have any dialogue. JCS is the only exception in my 25-year career,a�? says Koikaran (of Stagefright Productions), who plays Pontius Pilot. a�?It is one of those musicals I grew up listening to. Only when I started working on it did I understand the depth of the lyrics and music,a�? he adds. The 90-minute play details the last week of Jesusa�� life, and is seen through the eyes of Judasa��portrayed not as a traitor but as someone concerned with the cult-like worship of a man. While the duo has made a few changes a�?based on our interpretations of thingsa�?, they state the playa��s soul remains intact. Nicholas says their version references the production that went on tour in Australia in 2012. a�?Wea��d come up with a contemporary script, then we saw the Aussie edition and we were like a�?they stole our ideasa��,a�? laughs the founder of Nicholas Productions.
The dance off
While the sets are minimala��a projection screen and a few boxes that the actors will movea��the 35-member cast promises to keep the drama high. In fact, many of the cast are dancers from Aparna Nagesha��s all-girl ensemble, High Kicks. a�?Among the 24 songs, around six have a lot of choreography. My vocabulary is global dance fusion, and you can expect numbers with the feel of burlesque, jazz, Broadway and evenA� high-energy Las Vegas ,a�? she says. The two co-directors are also all-praise for the seven-piece live band, with members drawn from several city colleges, that has stayed true to the energy of the original rock compositions.
September 10-11, at 3 pm and 7 pm, at Museum Theatre. Tickets from Rs 300. Details: in.bookmyshow.com.
a��Surya Praphulla Kumar