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Educating Rita returns after two decades

Willy Russell’s 1980 play Educating Rita continues its classic run, and will be performed on next Thursday

Mumbai’s theatres must have been packed in 1993-94 when Satyadev Dubey along with veteran Marathi actress Neena Kulkarni recreated the drama of Willy Russell’s Educating Rita.

Dr Pradnya Shastri and Professor Ajit Kelkar in a still from the play
Dr Pradnya Shastri and Professor Ajit Kelkar in a still from the play

Twenty years later, Professor Ajit Kelkar and Dr Pradnya Shastri hope to do the same, as they will reprise the roles of Frank and Rita next week.

“The play is a modern-day classic. Frank, an alcoholic, middle-aged professor of English literature, is disillusioned about life and gets impressed by the fresh and intuitive approach of Rita, who works as a hairdresser but is hungry for knowledge,” says Kelkar who was, interestingly, a real-life Economics professor before he switched to acting.

Continuing, he says, “This approach of Rita’s amuses him but he also feels the burden he would have to bear in satiating her hunger. From this beginning till the end of the play their relationship takes so many twists and turns.”

Not minding the 20-year gap, Kelkar is thrilled to have the challenge of captivating the audiences, “With only two characters it is easier to manage, so far as rehearsals and adjustment of timings of actors are concerned. It is a challenge to sustain the interest of the audience for almost two-and-a half hours.

On top of it, this play takes place in the same room, so no change of locales either. Still, for last 30 years or more, it has lured audiences all over the world. We are lucky to have Pratima Kulkarni’s direction,” Kelkar signs off.

On: August 28, 6.30 pm
At: Experimental Theatre, NCPA, Nariman Point.
Call: 22824567

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