Directing an original play is not an easy task, but directing an adaptation? Probably more difficult. Ask Trishla Patel, who’s in the middle of rehearsals for her upcoming play, Six Characters in Search of an Author. The play, written by Italian dramatist and novelist Luigi Pirandello, was first performed in 1921. “I’ve always directed original plays. It’s the first time I’m doing an adaptation,” says Patel, who admits she is finding it difficult. “You have to retain the author’s vision. You can’t take the written word as Bible but as far as possible, I try and stick to the original,” she adds.
Apart from Trishla Patel, the play’s cast comprises Benjamin Gilani and his son Rahil Gilani, Sukant Gohil, Trimala Adhikari, Kajli Sharma, Asok Deb, Malika Singh and Shashank Dutt
The play opens with a director rehearsing with his actors on stage, when he is rudely interrupted by six strangers who are looking for the author. An argument ensues between the director and the six characters and flows into a play that starts getting enacted in front of the actors. This play within a play, is what caught Patel’s imagination, when she chanced upon the script in a book of productions she was gifted three years back.
Why is it relevant today?
“Even though Six Characters in Search of an Author was first done in the 1920s, it’s very relevant today,” she says, elaborating that it deals with the struggle of what an actor looks for when he essays a character on stage. “It is also about how one actor sees a character in a certain way, while another actor sees it differently. It’s also about how the character sees himself. These are three different things,” adds Patel. The piece also deals with issues such as incest, loss of innocence, failed marriages and class difference, which, in Patel’s views, are more than rampant now. “I’m fascinated by how these things that are so relevant today were written about in those times as well,” she says.
Patel, who is an established theatre actor herself, will direct herself in the play as well. “It is difficult as you have to be able to see the play from outside as well as from the inside. But it’s great fun, nonetheless,” she smiles. Apart from Patel, the other actors in the cast include Benjamin Gilani and his son Rahil Gilani, Sukant Gohil, Trimala Adhikari, Kajli Sharma, Asok Deb, Malika Singh and Shashank Dutt.
When: February 21-23, 7 pm
Where: Godrej Theatre, NCPA, NCPA Marg, Nariman Point
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