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The stage is set

It might be the last on the city’s theatre annual calendar but is hardly a jaded celebration of the staged art form. On the converse, NCPA’s Centrestage is going strong in its fourth edition heralding new productions year after year that initiate their tours from the tip of the island city. Starting tomorrow, 15 new plays will engage audiences in several languages -- Hindi, Marathi, English, and Gujarati.


Evam’s play Ali J is highly acclaimed and an import to the city from Chennai

Breaking the ceiling, a mixed bag of veterans and new talents dot the programme. Young talents like the BITS Pilani theatre group, who were the winners at Waves 2013, Sananda Mukhopadhyaya with the well-versed Zubin Driver, Akarsh Khurana and Manav Kaul will stage their productions at the same stage and platform. Known for his well-nuanced narratives, Manav Kaul’s Colour Blind should top one’s list. Not only for the stellar cast comprising Swanand Kirkire, Satyajeet Sharma, Kalki Koechlin amongst others, but also for a Tagore fan, as the play attempts to unfold in several vulnerable avatars.

Zubin Driver’s Status Quo, on the other hand, explores the world of social media and how it plays menace with the dynamics of a couple’s relationship. The talented Heeba Shah with the compelling Asif Basra will without a doubt pack the theatres in no time. Gujarati play Manchha by Pritesh Sodha promises to be a riveting tale as it speaks of an abandoned village in Kutchh and decodes what the vacuum portends.

The group of stand-up comedians, Schitzengiggles, will be tickling the rib, a new addition to the festival this time. The act’s name is The Complete Works of Shakespeare, which attempts to poke fun at the Bard’s plays. The fact that Hamlet is mere 42 seconds long, a world record of shortest performance of the classic, makes it a sell-out for if nothing more then curiosity.

Lastly, Mukhopadhyaya’s Khidki, a Tram Theatre production goes the experimental way by gaining inspiration from the urbanlandscape photography of Gabriele Basilico and largely intonating itself to music.

The festivities also include a Masked Characters workshop as well as one on the Italian art form -- Commedia Dell ‘Arte. Regional imports include Ali J (From Chennai) that received much applause at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival as well as an English play, Rope from Nagpur. It’s time to raise the curtains.

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