From Spring Awakening to High School Musical, Mind Your Language to The Great Debaters, stories set in classrooms have always had an impact on film and theatre audiences alike. Banking on that, this week, The Comedy Store will feature two plays that take place in a classroom.
Pan, directed by Murtuza Kutianwala, takes place within the four walls of an anger management class. “I visited a few of them in the city to see what the atmosphere is like. It takes a lot of courage to step up and admit to an anger issue, it’s not something that people readily do,” says Kutianwala.
The play revolves around four characters who carry different shades of anger — a spirited yoga instructor, a failed entrepreneur, a lonesome car salesman and a Syrian foreign exchange student, and what happens when they spend one afternoon with each other at the class. “It isn’t a preachy play, but the dialogues and the type of situations the characters are thrown in get you thinking,” says Kutianwala.
On the other hand, Mehrzad Patel’s play, The Class Act deals with a completely different issue. The play’s characters, who come from different religions and socio-economic backgrounds, have views that are polar opposite every topic, which leads to utter chaos.
“Religious squabbles can get too petty at times, making them humourous. The play deals with stereotypes, and the dialogues are something that everyone has always wanted to say out loud — but never dared to,” says Patel. So what makes the setting of a classroom recurrent in various literary and theatrical works? “Because it’s so relatable. Everybody has been in a classroom. So one can strike a chord with what’s happening on the stage,” says Patel.