Solo acts are considered to be one of the most challenging forms of theatre, especially because it is more intimate and involves a greater exchange between the performer and the audience. Celebrating the intricacies of such acts is the Going Solo International Theatre Festival. In its second edition in the city, the two-day show will feature three acts: If These Spasms Could Speak, Shylock and Don’t Wake Me, from UK’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
A scene from If These Spasms Could Speak
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If These Spasms Could Speak is a solo theatre work by differently-abled artiste Robert Softley who gives the lowdown on his life and those of others who have a disability. The touching narratives were gathered through interviews with disabled people. Shylock, performed by British soloist and Olivier Award winner Guy Masterson, is a comedic and moving
performance that conjures a host of characters, from Portia to Pontius Pilate, Antonio the Merchant and Adolf Hitler. It explores the character of Shylock as one of the only two Jewish men in the whole of Shakespeare’s works and how he has been portrayed in ways, which reflected how Jews were popularly viewed — from comic villain in Shakespeare’s time to a victim of racial discrimination nowadays.
A scene from Don’t Wake Me
The third production is the acclaimed play Don’t Wake Me: The Ballad Of Nihal Armstrong, directed by Rahilla Gupta, which is a true story of a mother’s battle for her disabled son’s rights and about their intense mother-son relationship.
Challenges all the way
Sanjoy Roy, festival director and MD, Teamwork Arts, speaks about the festival, “Solo performances have to transport the audience into the world that the actor has created, weaving together the context, place and story of the protagonist through words and movement. Last year, we got a positive response and so this year we have taken the festival a notch higher, in terms of touring across four metros.”
The second edition in India will see the festival heading to a fourth metro of Kolkata apart from touring Delhi, Bangalore and Mumbai.
On: October 20, 7 pm (If These Spasms Could Speak); 8.30 pm (Shylock); October 21, 7 pm (Shylock), 8.30 pm
(Don’t Wake Me)
At: Experimental Theatre, NCPA, Nariman Point.
On: October 22, 7 pm (Don’t Wake Me)
At: St Andrews Auditorium, Bandra (W).