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When MV Wisdom comes calling

Cargo ship MV Wisdom was stranded on Juhu beach for nearly 20 days in 2011. During that period, lakhs of visitors had gathered at the beach for a glimpse of the ship and there were massive jams. Circa 2013, a new production, titled Wisdom, based on the incident is being staged by Armaan Arora, a 17-year-old student in Boston, and directed by his mentor, Jeffrey Goldberg, a faculty member at The Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute and School of Visual Arts in New York City. Arora and Goldberg met in 2010 at the Dhirubhai Ambani International School.


The play Wisdom imagines a hypothetical situation revolving around the stranding of the ship MV Wisdom. Pics/ Sameer Markande

The play revolves around the day the cargo ship MV Wisdom beached on Juhu beach (June 11, 2011) and how the day changes the lives of nine people across the city. All the funds generated from staging the play will be donated to the NGO, Sankalp Rehabilitation Trust, a rehabilitation centre on
Charni Road.

Explaining the genesis of Wisdom, Goldberg, who wrote the script, says, “I was living in Mumbai at the time and I found the name of the ship very ironic; it almost implied that the city needed a dose of wisdom. I moved on to NYC later where I reconnected with Armaan. We decided on this topic as we were both missing the city. In the play, the ship is a metaphor for the change in life experiences of the characters.”


A shot from the rehearsal of the play Wisdom

The scripting to the staging of the play was a process that was completed over four months (from March onwards). The characters in the play include an overbearing mother of a dancer, a Bollywood star and his politician wife and a foreign journalist in a relationship with a Bollywood assistant director, among others.

Arora adds, “Having lived in the city for three years, Jeffrey understands the Indian essence. He was perfect to write the script and direct the play.”
Describing the play as an ode to the city, Goldberg observes, “Mumbai is a weird city. When you live there you find it challenging, but when you move away you miss it a lot.”


(Left) Armaan Arora with (right) Jeffrey Goldberg

Being a first timer, Arora admits he enjoyed the experience of booking theatres, co-ordination and funding. “The sets have also been specially created using video projections to reflect the difference between Mumbai and Paris (one of the storylines shifts to the city),” he adds. Post the experience, Goldberg admits that he is seriously thinking of moving back to the city that inspired this play, as he finds Bollywood fascinating and it offers a lot of opportunity to train young actors. In January, he plans to host workshops on film direction in the city. While Arora isn’t acting in this play, he hopes to get involved in it in the future.

On August 19, 7.30 pm
At St Andrew’s Auditorium, Bandra (W).
Call 26428684 

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