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Hands on

art and culture Updated: Feb 21, 2013 18:31 IST
Amrutha Penumudi
Amrutha Penumudi
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

Prithvi Theatre will present one of the most famous plays written by theatre veteran Martin McDonagh, A Behanding In Spokane.

The dark comedy, which is being directed by Kashin Shetty, revolves around a Caucasian man, Carmichael, whose left hand is cut off at birth. He goes looking for it all over the world, until he arrives at Spokane, Washington, where he meets a young black man Toby, and his girlfriend who con him into believing they have his hand.

“The play begins at the point where Carmichael finds out that he has been duped, that too by a black man, and wants revenge. A comedy of errors ensue, which forms the main gist of the play,” says Shetty. Veteran actor Christopher Walken had played the central character in the play’s Broadway adaptation and was even nominated for a Tony award for his portrayal.

The play is based in the USA and explores racial tensions, and Shetty has retained his foreign characters and settings as well. Ask him why he didn’t adapt the story to a more relatable Indian scenario, and he says, “That would have just diluted the comedy.

The play has dark humourous dialogues and racist jokes, which need this particular setting to be effective.” And so, Carmichael (played by Ali Fazal) is a white supremacist, while Toby (Abhishek Saha) talks with the vocal inflections of a black man. “I’ve been watching movies, especially those featuring Will Smith and Martin Lawrence, to
get the slang right. We don’t want the accent to look unrealistic or put on, so we haven’t overdone it. We have toned down the modulations in the other characters’ dialogues, so that my lines stand out. For instance, I am the guy who gets to speak all the wrong English, and the ‘ain’ts’,” says Saha.