Four years ago, One on One, the hit play narrated through monologues, was first staged. Its sequel now promises quirky characters and even more absurd situations.
DJ Elvis (real name: Satish Sudhaker Pilkutty Muthu Thyagarajan) is leaning against a neon signboard. It announces ‘Laughing Hyena’, supposedly Malad’s coolest karaoke club. Elvis, trying to look every bit its hip DJ, is smoking a cigarette. He watches as the club’s patrons — middle-aged men — stream in. Soon, they will belt out songs as if they are music virtuosos on a par with Kishore Kumar.
This is the premise of a monologue, titled DJ Elvis, written and directed by Rahul da Cunha, and performed by actor Neil Bhoopalam. “Do it well and don’t f**k it up were Rahul’s clear instructions,” Bhoopalam says in jest, adding, “To prepare for the role, I drank a lot of beer at karaoke nights and attempted to sing.”
DJ Elvis is one among the nine short monologues of Rage Productions and Showhouse Events’ play, One on One 2, premiering this Saturday (August 1), in Mumbai, before travelling to six other cities. The production also features a real estate broker who gets duped by another agent, a sleep-deprived mother, an eager bride questioning the concept of ‘happily-ever-after’, a ticket collector who keeps getting slapped, and an NRI who has just been to ‘see’ prospective brides.
Anuradha Menon, famous for portraying Lola Kutty on Channel V, will portray a day in the life of the harried mother in the monologue, I’m Every Woman (in English). “Women put a lot of pressure on themselves to be the best wife, mother, daughter, daughter-in-law and friend. That’s not really possible,” says Menon. Mother to a two-and-a-half-year-old son, she also jokes that, after having played this role, she has decided she doesn’t want another child.
Apart from Bhoopalam and Menon, the play features an ensemble cast that includes seasoned actors like Rajit Kapur, Vrajesh Hirjee and Zafar Karachiwala, among others. While part one had 10 monologues that represented contemporary India, this play will have nine short plays showcasing a slice of life.
“It’s a collage of modern India,” says Kapur, co-founder of Rage Productions. He has directed TC Rasbihari (in Hindi), about a railway ticket collector in Madhya Pradesh who routinely gets slapped, but gets infuriated on one occasion, as he feels he didn’t deserve it. Kapur has also written and performed the English monologue, Nobody, set against the backdrop of a funeral. “I drew out of my own as well as other people’s experiences at funerals,” he shares. He has also directed Game, Set(ing) and Match in English, which is about an Indian American (played by Hirjee), who’s on his way home after meeting potential brides. “It’s a wacko (sic) piece but quite realistic in the portrayal of passengers on a long-distance flight,” he states.
While the basic concept of monologues and some of the original team have been retained, da Cunha, also a co-founder of Rage Productions, says the sequel will be different: “The sets and lights are more complex. One on One 2 is more production-heavy as well.”
Don’t miss: Catch the premiere of One on One 2 on August 1
Where: St Andrew’s Auditorium, St Dominic Road, Bandra (W)
Call: 2640 1657
Tickets: Rs 500 onward on bookmyshow.com