Two friends are waiting at the Prithvi Theatre café to catch a show of their favourite actor, Naseeruddin Shah’s new play. This fairly common situation is complicated because they have only one ticket. Also, they are both dead.
Naseeruddin Shah. Pic/Pradeep Dhivar
This is how Sapan Saran’s play Waiting for Naseer begins. The two characters then laugh, cry, compete bitterly, and reveal themselves in a desperate bid to get that one elusive ticket to the show. “The play is a celebration of theatre, of acting, passion and life itself,” shares Saran.
She says that the idea came to her as a result of a long fascination with two ideas — the idea of waiting and a two-actor play. “The idea of wait in the play extends to a sort of an existential wait, where human beings always find themselves struggling with the state of waiting. The meaninglessness of this wait can be profoundly painful and while some give up, others choose to struggle. In that choice lies happiness,” she says.
A moment from the play with the two waiting friends
Her other interest in a play with two actors got a push when she was in the US. “I was in Washington DC, where I saw a production of Rosencrantz And Guildenstern are Dead, and I walked out of the theatre thinking it’s time to write a two-actor play where the only task the actors have in hand, is to wait,” she recounts.
Jaimini Pathak in action
Though there have been a couple of performances, Naseeruddin Shah is yet to see the play. “We got in touch with him, when I was writing the play and I needed some inputs from him, which he graciously shared. We invited him to the preview show, but he had to travel to Singapore then. So, no, he hasn’t seen it yet. Also, Naseeruddin Shah is more a metaphor in the play than anything else,” she maintains.
Actor Jaimini Pathak, who is playing one of the friends, says that the script itself had him sold the play. “It is an interesting and original play and comments of theatre in Mumbai and other larger issues,” he says, adding that for more we need to catch
On?=: July 3
Time: 6 PM to 7.30 PM
At: Bungalow 9, St John Baptist Road, Bandra (W).