As the scope for dissent shrinks, a play explores individuality and differences
An adaptation of Irish playwright Linda Radley’s much celebrated play Futureproof will be staged this weekendart and culture Updated: May 05, 2017 17:56 IST
It has been a busy month for Amba Suhasini Jhala. Futureproof, her next English language play as a director and the first by her new production house Guild of the Goat, will be staged this weekend. “We have been rehearsing for the last five weeks. I could have happily done with more time,” she says.
A graduate from the London School of Music and Dramatic Arts, Amba was looking for a play with a strong female protagonist when she stumbled upon the play by Irish playwright Linda Radley which has earned accolades at the Edinburg festival in 2011 for its sensitivity and intelligence. “So much theatre is written for men and by men. One of the reasons I picked this play is because it has been written by a woman with four out of seven parts for strong female leads. And we even managed to find a lighting designer and costume designer both of whom are women. Something I’ve always wanted to do to turn the patriarchal tables so to speak,” says Amba.
Futureproof explores the idea of existential crisis through a travelling circus. It is set during the last gasp of the circus freak show. Robert Riley’s odditorium, a motley crew made up of an armless bearded lady, the world’s fattest man, conjoined siamese twins, a half man half woman and a mermaid, was once a successful traveling circus freak show. But faced with the audiences changing tastes, they are staring at a bleak future. Once considered God’s marvels, they are are now viewed as nature’s aberration.
Riley, the freak show’s owner decides that to become futureproof, the show should do away with the oddness; undo the freakiness and become ordinary. The characters realise that their individuality may be at risk, next while they are compelled to face the audience sans unusualness.
With shrinking scope for dissent and vigilante groups running amok with the government patronage, it is not difficult to see the play’s relevance in today’s times. “This is the era of Narendra Modi and Donald Trump. We need to challenge alienation and prejudices now more than ever. These days, it is assumed that if you don’t understand my viewpoint, you are on the other side of the fence. The play celebrates difference instead of pigeon-holing characters,” she says.
Amba took almost a month to come up with her own draft of the “complicated production” but she did not watch the original. “I do not do productions that I have watched as they invariably end up influencing my work. It is difficult not to think about how the other person did it,” she says.
WHAT: English language play Furutreproof
WHEN: 8 pm, May 6-7 & 11-14
WHERE: Oddbird theatre, Dhan Mill Compound, 100 Foot Road, SSN Marg, Chhattarpur
TICKETS: Call 95408 18862 or visit www.insider.in
ENTRY: Rs 300-500