Set a day after the Taj Mahal Hotel terror attacks, 27/11 is a story of two lovers, one of whom is married already, as they explore the choices available to them to start a new life together. “These two lovers in the backdrop of the attacks are discussing whether they should use this opportunity to declare him dead and start a new life together. The play questions whether it is okay to use such a tumultuous occasion for personal gain. When does selfishness kick in? Are we really resilient or are we becoming immune to such incidences?” asks Rahul daCunha, who has directed the play, based on the novel The Mercy Seat by Neil La Bute. The play, 27/11 will premiere as part of the Centrestage Theatre Festival at the NCPA, on Thursday.
City at peace?
DaCunha believes that Mumbai was once a peaceful city but over the years, the city has had to go through a lot. “The ’92 riots, the train blasts of 2006 and then the 2008 terror attacks — it affected all of us, it showed us how vulnerable we are,” says the 50-year-old director adding, “Everyone does get up and go back to work the next day. Mumbai will recover, it always does, but is that what we call resilience? In the play, the protagonist points out that despite the attacks, the IPL (Indian Premier League) will go ahead and so will the festive celebrations for Diwali,” he adds.
During the entire duration of the play, when the protagonists are conversing with each other, the television is playing in the background, bringing live updates of the attacks. “There is the underlying tension of the attacks constantly as the protagonists talk. It is quite intense,” he adds.
Terror, once again
The fact that every time such an incident occurs, it affects us in some way or another is what got the director to put together this play. He believes there is a lasting impact on people’s lives. “It has an impact. Today, it has been four years post the attacks but there is still an impact. The culprits have not all been caught yet,” he says. “The city is undergoing massive amounts of change owing to these incidences. Each time such an instance occurs, it leaves a residue; this residue will accumulate over time,” believes daCunha.
The play stars Shernaz Patel and Nadir Khan, and the rehearsals for the play have been going on for over two weeks now. “This Friday, when we rehearsed I felt the play was reaching a new level. That’s the brilliance of theatre, the more you rehearse or perform, it goes to new levels,” he explains.