The theatre scene in Mumbai is such that there’s a new play almost every month. When one continues to be popular for years then, it is no small feat. Actor-director Lillete Dubey’s play, Dance Like A Man, completes 450 shows on April 6.
Lillete says she can’t believe the play — one of her oldest productions — still performs to a full house. “It’s a great feeling. Especially with Dance Like A Man, because it is the one play that exemplifies why I opened my own theatre company.” Lilette says that when she opened Primetime Theatre Company in 1981, most plays in India were adaptations of western plays. “No one was exploring Indian writing, because it was risky. Staging a Shakespeare or a Bernard Shaw was a tried-and-tested formula,” she explains.
Wanting to change that, Lillete wished for Indianness in her productions. After much scrounging, she chanced upon the script of Dance Like A Man (written by renowned playwright Mahesh Dattani). “It was one of the first plays of Indian origin in the country, and kind of got the ball rolling,” says Lillette. There was no looking back. The play opened to rave reviews, and went on tour across across the world and was staged at multiple festivals.
At its heart, Dance Like A Man is the story about a small south-Indian family, about typical Indian parents and Bharatanatyam. Ask her if she ever feared that her international audience would not get the context of the play, and Lillette says, “A well-written play will always transcend the local context and draw audiences in. Every time the audience laughed at a joke or a particular scene, I would wonder how incredible is it that what we find funny in India is what makes a man in Portland laugh. I realised, we are all different and yet the same.”
Catch Dance Like A Man at the Tata Theatre, NCPA, Nariman Point, on April 6, 7 pm. Log on to Bookmyshow.com or visit the box office for tickets.
What: Year End Sale
Where : Clarks House, near Regal Cinema
When : April 1, 9.30 am to 9.30 pm
Signed MF Husain serigraphs available at R20,000, watercolours on Munga silk by Tapan Bordoloi, lithographs by Raja Ravi Varma, Pandya, PS Ramchandra Rao and Aniruddha Barua, starting at R10,000.
What: Maria Stuarda – Donizetti (Opera screening)
Where : NCPA, Nariman Point
When : April 2, 6.30 pm
Maria Stuarda is a tragic opera in two acts, by Gaetano Donizetti, to alibretto by Giuseppe Bardari, based on Andrea Maffeis’s translation of Friedrich Schillers’s 1800 play Maria Stuart. The story is loosely based on the lives of Mary Stuart and her cousin Queen Elizabeth I. Tickets R500
What: The Comedy Kitchen Returns
Where: The Comedy Store, Lower Parel
When: April 3, 8.30 pm
The Comedy Kitchen is a serving of seven comic shorts in one evening. It’s a selection of laugh riots, directed by Dhruv Mookerji. Some of them are original and some are adaptations from British TV and live shows. Tickets R500.
What: A Walk In The Woods
Where: Swatantryaveer Savarkar Marg
When: April 4, 8 pm
Two diplomats (an Indian and a Pakistani) in the middle of peace talks take a private walk in the woods trying to achieve a breakthrough in the muddled negotiations between the two countries. Tickets R200 to R500.
What: Ten Years With Guru Dutt: Abrar Alvi`s Journey
Where: Experimental Theatre, NCPA, Nariman Point
When: April 5, 7 pm
The presentation focuses on six stories behind some of India’s greatest cinema, that highlight Abrar Alvi’s relationship with Guru Dutt. Tickets R450.
What: Art and lifestyle
Where : Sanctum, Khar West
When : April 6, 11 am to 8 pm
A showing of affordable-yet-exquisite paintings over coffee and chocolates, at Sanctum Gallery.
What: Massage (Hindi Play)
Where: NCPA, Nariman Point
When: March 31, 7 pm
Happy Kuma aspires to join the film industry but ends up as an assistant to a filmmaker who makes sleazy cinema. Tickets R200.