Direction: Partha and Bharath
Writers: Vinodh, Arun and Ashwin
Rating: ** ½
The English theatre scene in Chennai has perked up in recent times with several groups attempting not only the tried and tested works or established playwrights, but also some original fare. Rebelz, a group of young software boys and girls, has been active since 2006, having staged several plays. Consciously aiming at telling “stories with a desi and spicy touch’, Rebelz presented The Blind Date Café.
Focussing on a much married but perennially squabbling couple, Dickie (Partha) and Angie (Mahima), who run a dating agency, the play is a spoof on the bizarre expectations that men and women have about the ideal partner. When one of the girls, called Jane (Preethika), seeks the Tarzan in a man, the agency sends to the Blind Date Café a typical look-like (and similarly named) of the jungle man (Bharath), clad in an animal skin loin cloth and armed with a bunch of bananas. Jane meets Tarzan, and realises her folly at having misled the agency with requirements that, well, quite matches the candidate in the café.
In the meantime, there is another young woman, Virginia (Anupama), searching for her “Cowboy” (Why not George Bush or John Wyne?), and when he (Ashwin) appears – hat and the drawl in tact, she is ready to sink into the ground. She had not bargained for this, surely not.
Not quite as disillusioned as these two couples are Sandra (Richa) and Willy (Ranga Prasad). While one is drunk, the other is a shoplifter, but they get on famously, probably because they stepped into the café sans hope.
The Blind Date Café admittedly takes on a pressing issue of the day, but at 75 minutes, the play seemed too lean to effectively make the point it had set out to do in the first place. Characterisation took a beating: there was just not enough scope for the fairly large cast to portray the array of interesting men and women we find in society. Obviously a bigger script may have helped The Blind Café present its case with greater conviction.