Belief in second chances

Unhappy with the 2006 execution of his award-winning script, Peele Scooter Wala Aadmi, Manav Kaul gives it a second shot

Some questions are like mathematical problems. To solve them, you need to assume the answers first and then work backwards.

Manav Kaul’s play Peele Scooter Wala Aadmi is about a man struggling with such questions. The protagonist is a writer with a story stuck awkwardly inside his head. As much as he wants to write the story, he also wants to escape it, often looking for excuses to avoid the unavoidable.

In 2006, the script for Peele Scooter Wala Aadmi won the META for the best script. PIC/NIMESH DAVE
In 2006, the script for Peele Scooter Wala Aadmi won the META for the best script. Pic/Nimesh Dave

On the first floor of Prithvi House in Juhu, a team of seasoned actors — Kumud Mishra, Shubhrajyoti Barat, Abhay Joshi, Ghanshyam Lalsa and Chitrangada Chakaworthy — is rehearsing the play over cups of masala chai with sounds of fingers tap-dancing on two typewriters providing ambient sound.

“Peele Scooter Wala Aadmi, unlike what the name may suggest, is not a funny play. On the contrary, it is a complicated, multi-layered story,” Kaul cautions us. “I opened the play in 2006. It was the second play I wrote and won the Mahindra Excellence in Theatre Award (META) for best script. However, I was not happy with the execution. What I staged then was not what I had envisaged. It required better treatment,” says Kaul, who is not acting in the play this time around.

After almost a decade, Peele Scooter… makes a comeback, with not just a new cast but also a different interpretation.

“I have worked on the subtext this time and brought it to the fore. Looking back at what I wrote… it feels like I am working on a play written by someone else. And this has given me the objectivity to reinterpret it.”

What he felt was a flat story, has been given a new dimension. “Earlier, the play concentrated on what happened in the writer’s life. Now, we show what is going on inside his head as well — his inner turmoil, fantasies, and thoughts. For instance, back then, when I wrote the character of the girlfriend, or the sexual fantasy of the writer, I didn’t develop it fully. I have done that now. She becomes his mother, but only inside his head, not in reality.”

When: Sept 29 and Sept 30, 6 pm and 9 pm
Where: Prithvi Theatre, 20 Janki Kutir, Juhu Church Road
Entry: Rs 150
Call: 26149546

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