The unique and fascinating character of Mumbai has inspired diverse creative minds — from painters and filmmakers to theatrical productions that have made the city their muse and expressed their impressions through different platforms. Making one such attempt is theatre personality Zubin Driver, whose new play, Mumbai Vs Mumbai, a collection of four monologues, is set to premiere in the city on May 18.
“The four pieces that make up the play are a cry of faith and tenacity in the face of daily struggle — these characters don’t give up; they may go crazy, break down and behave weird sometimes, but they don’t give up. They are tough, the way real Mumbaikars are made,” says driver, who has written and directed 15 plays till date.
Silence, one of the four monologues in the play is about a man sitting and having a rare moment of silence on the beach. whereas Car Song is about an elderly man who is trapped eternally in a car; driving around the city, which becomes his cage eventually.
Rathod — the roach-killer, talks about a door-to-door salesman who suffers from low self-esteem and feels that no one appreciates him. He kills pests and keeps homes clean, but becomes crazed by its monotony and enters a fantasy world of his own. Another piece, Spider, is about a television anchor who loses control over his mind while on the 9 pm news. He breaks down on live TV and shows us the real person behind the mask.
“The four pieces have been written as an exploration of the inner life of Mumbaikars, chronicling how the city transforms, fragments and plays with people’s self-identity,” explains Driver, adding that Mumbai Vs Mumbai is unique because it takes on Mumbai’s dark side head on.
“These are not sweet tales of sweet people. These are real people struggling in the midst of going to work in crowded trains, stuck eternally in traffic jams and forced to play out artificial roles as TV people. These characters have rough edges, dark sides and unresolved areas; like how real people are made. No compromise, no fake stuff,” he stresses. Actor Denzil Smith will play all the four characters in these monologues.
“I have written a new play called Status Kyon? based on how social media transforms intimacy. I am hoping to open that in the last quarter of this year. My next production is a convergence of dance, music and poetry using parables; simple story-telling is used to create new insights for an audience. I have begun rehearsing for this.”— Zubin Driver