His new play the thriller, Double Deal: How Far Would You Go, an adaptation of Richard Stockwell’s Killing Time, tells the story of two strangers Jeet and Rhea, their initial encounter and the dramatic revelations that follow…
What got you interested in Killing Time?
I have been doing detective plays for BBC radio for 10 years now. And I’ve always been interested in the thriller genre.
When staged in New York Killing Time, was not well received . Isn’t it dicey to adapt such a play?
I have not seen a production of the play. But yes I am aware of the reports. Even as I was reading the script I did feel that there were holes. But Double Deal... is an adaptation and we have tried to fill those holes.
English is retained. You have just adapted the context of the play to the Indian milieu. Why? In addition to adapting the play to a local setting we have adapted the it into Hindi and English. Anil Deshmukh has done the Hindi adaptation, whereas I have done English.
That, however, in no way implies that it is a Hinglish production. We will be staging the production in both English and Hindi.
You’ve chosen to adapt the script to the local milieu. But we often get to see productions in which accents run thick and the mise en scène could be any place from a New York apartment to the Scottish highlands.
I think that’s boring. I fail to understand this emphasis on trying so hard to get a North London accent right and then getting it wrong any way. A play must resonate with its milieu.
How didyoudecide onMahesh Manjrekar and Sandhya Mridul?
Jeet is street-smart and Rhea is a troubled woman. We needed two strong actors to essay these parts. Mahesh and Sandhya fit the roles. This is the first time we are working together but it has worked out well.
Your last play Mad About Money, a comedy, was a departure from the probing theatre you are associated with.
There was some criticism. I was experimenting to see what works in Bombay. I deliberately worked out a script that had the feel of a spicy Punjabi pizza. It was a conscious decision to render the production in simple strokes.
I wanted to make it accessible and things have been okay, we’ve staged 40 shows. That said Mad About Money did in its own way tackle gender roles and the patriarchal set-up.
Adapted and directed by Mahesh Dattani. Cast: Mahesh Manjrekar and Sandhya Mridul. At Tata Theatre, NCPA, Nariman Point. February 4 at 6.30 pm.