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Now, theatre rocks to the Beatles’ tune

After a night of music inspired by The Beatles, it appears that Bandra is not ready to lay off the phenomenal English rockers, just yet, reports Purva Mehra.

mumbai Updated: Nov 26, 2009 00:57 IST
Purva Mehra

After a night of music inspired by The Beatles, it appears that Bandra is not ready to lay off the phenomenal English rockers, just yet.

On Thursday at the Celebrate Bandra Festival, being held in partnership with the Hindustan Times, Beatles fans will be treated to the play In the Name of John, Paul, George and Ringo, an apparent apotheosis of the legendary quartet.

Playwright Warren D’Sylva’s love for the band is nothing short of piety either. As a child and a good Catholic boy, D’Sylva was dragged to a religious convention in which priests preached the evils of rock. Brave, young teens came forth and set fire to their Beatles and Led Zeppelin tapes, and D’Sylva watched, aghast.

“I’d rather be damned than burn my Beatles tapes, but I did always want to respond to this fiasco I had witnessed, which is how the satire was conceived,” said D’Sylva, a copywriter.

Originally titled Sgt Pepper’s One and Only Hearts Club Band (derived from the Beatles’ eighth studio album), the play, which premiered at the Andrean Zonals Drama Competition last year, is being revived with a new cast and name.

Inspired by the characters in Cervantes’ Don Quixote of La Mancha, the performance is a comedy based on the lives of two vagabonds, who after failed attempts to make it as theatre actors are cast on the streets among thieves and criminals, where they embark on a mission to save rock ’n’ roll by scripting a Beatles musical.

“It has got as much to do with Bandra because many of us here have grown up listening to them,” said D’Sylva, founder of the theatre group Shoestring Theatre.

Bandra will be further extolled through a set of readings from the blog, bandrabuggers.blogspot.com, maintained by architect Clement Desylva. The blog, started in 2007, documents and comments on issues that impact those living in the suburb.

“I just decided to write a blog on Bandra one fine day. Within a few posts, I got encouraging responses from Bandraiites living overseas and kept it up,” said Desylva (46).

Eminent theatre and media persons from Bandra, Denzil Smith, Naresh Fernandes, Asif Ali Beg, Neale Murray and Brian Tellis, will present these vignettes, which highlight some of Bandra’s pressing concerns.

Annabelle Ferro will lend a slant to the evening by presenting a lament on the gentrification of Bandra by means of her play Like Water with Lonvaas.

“There is a saying about the Bandra of old that if you threw a stone anywhere in Bandra, it landed on a Pereira or a pig. The play attempts to capture some of that old ‘Mac’ popular subculture of the Pereiras, Dregos and D’Souzas,” said Ferro.

Lonvaas, Ferro explained, refers to an East Indian delicacy prepared in thick coconut gravy.

“As kids we used to await the preparation of Lonvaas at home. But when guests came home uninvited, the Lonvaas was watered down for it to suffice everyone.

It’s exactly what’s happened to Bandra and the Catholic community here. The play mourns the passing away of that subculture,” Ferro said

(All three events are lined up on Thursday at HUL Park, behind Candies, off Turner Road, 7.30 pm onwards)