Motley, one of the longest-running theatre groups in India, started by actor Naseeruddin Shah and Benjamin Gilani in 1979, needs no introduction to theatre lovers. This week, the Motley Theatre Fest that starts on April 22, will showcase some of the company's best-known plays, produced over the years. Talking about the weeklong affair, Naseer says, "All our plays have only two or three characters. One of the reasons we started this festival was so that we could bring all our actors under one roof, and celebrate being together."
The fest, which premiered in 2008, took a break in 2010. But it's now back with seven plays and a different venue, Veer Sawarkar Smarak, at Shivaji Park. Ask him on why the change from Prithvi and Naseer says, "A festival like this is badly needed in that part of town - Dadar, Shivaji Park, and Worli. Also it's centrally located. It's high time that experimental theatre ventured in those areas." He adds, "Besides, Prithvi was getting a little expensive." Ask him to pick his favourite play, and he says, "That has to be Waiting For Godot. It was the first play we produced about 35 years ago."
Naseer points out that even though plays are getting grand openings in the city, they are mostly the popular and easy-to-understand sort of plays. He says, "The kind of plays we produce are quite demanding - ones that require people to concentrate. If you miss out on one thing, then you lose the link. And honestly, all our plays don't get a houseful opening. We feel very grateful when a 100 people turn up."
Catch the Motley Theatre Festival from April 22-29, at Veer Sawarkar Smarak, Shivaji Park, Dadar. Book tickets on www.bookmyshow.com