It's a bittersweet life

Shillak, a Marathi play that is being staged as a part of the Writer's Bloc Festival, explore the relationship between the members of a lower middle class Maharashtrian family after the head of the family loses his job

It's not just money and property that gets inherited by future generations; it's also the values that get carried forward.

Dr Vivek Bele, who plays the father, Shridhar

This is the central premise of Marathi play Shillak, which depicts the highs and lows of a lower middle class Maharashtrian family. The play will be performed at Prithvi theatre as part of the Writer's Bloc festival.

"It revolves around Sridhar (Dr Vivek Bele), the patriarch of the family, who loses his job. The mother also doesn't earn enough to sustain the household.

A scene from Shillak

The play shows how this situation affects the family. In a scenario where the father figure is expected to fend at all costs, the father pretends that he has another job and the play delves into how far he can control this parallel world created by him," says Pradeep Vaiddya, director of the play.

In character
Vaiddya admits that apart from playwright Sagar Deshmukh being his friend, what interested him about the play were the characters. Also, the director could relate to the theme as he grew up in a similar background.

While the characters and the relationships they share forms an integral part of the play, Vaiddya maintains that in real life actors are different from the scripted characters that they portay.

While the mother, Jayashree (Rupali Bhave), is a very submissive woman in the play, the actress (Rupali Bhave) is sharp, focussed, reactive and aggressive in real life states Vaiddya. But it was the gullibility of the actors to the scripted role that made Vaiddya pick them.

Make or break it
There were two scenes from the play that Vaiddya found difficult to stage. It includes the scene where the father invites the boss who sacked him to dinner and a surreal scene where every character is having an inner monologue without communicating with anyone else on stage.

"At times, there were surreal scenes that the playwright had written which looked good on paper but staging it was very difficult," says Vaiddya.
"At the end of the play, it is the happiness of the family despite the economic crisis that will stay with the audience. They will love the family and warm up to the love between them," he believes.

Writers Unblock
Vaiddya feels that it is a different ballgame when the writer and director of the play work in sync. He recounts how at times the writer would want to change something and as a director he wouldn't like it and vice versa.

"I missed being at the workshop where the play was conceptualised, but it was an experience in itself to direct a play which has been developed by inputs from several people other that the writer of the play," concludes Vaiddya.

95 minutes without interval
At Today at Prithvi Theatre, 20 Janki Kutir Juhu Church Road, 7 and 9.30 pm call 26149546
January 22 at Yashwant Natya Mandir (Matunga) at 11 am.

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