After hugely successful runs across India, the US, Dubai, Muscat and Singapore, theatre director Atul Kumar has no qualms admitting that working with a ‘star’ cast does help. “But I think once the play starts, we transcend the titillation of faces and the audience connects with the play,” he says. His production, The Blue Mug featuring a bevy of actors like Vinay Pathak, Konkana Sen Sharma, Ranvir Shorey and Rajat Kapoor, has been packing theatres since 2004.
This weekend, the all-star cast will get together one last time, though new-mom Konkana will be missing in action. “Shipra Singh has replaced her, as Konkana wasn’t available,” says Atul. Was it difficult matching the schedules of the movie actors for play rehearsals? “In 2004, when we created this play, most of them were jobless and had lots of time,” he laughs, adding, “No, on a serious note, all of them made time for theatre. They are extremely committed to the show.”
The Blue Mug is loosely based on neurologist Oliver Sacks’ book, The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat that explores a series of unusual case histories. The experimental Indian version looks at the concept of memories through these people. Talking about his free-flowing narrative, Atul reveals that none of it is scripted. “Actually, we don’t have anything on paper. The actors improvise a little bit in each show. But the repetition of the show has given it some consistency of lines and structure.” So will the show be different from their previous shows in the city? “It’ll be completely different, I suppose, as many memories that we shared earlier have been replaced by others.”
And this may make one wonder why Atul then decided to conclude such a dynamic production, but he explains, “It’s been a long time since we’ve been doing this. We need to move on and create something new now, that’s all.” And he sure is: Up next, brewing in his mug is an interpretation of King Lear as a clown by Rajat Kapoor, for which Atul will be seen in acting mode.
Watch Blue Mug at Rangsharda, Bandra (W), on Aug 6 and 7. For tickets, log on to bookmyshow.com