Sexing it up on stage

Feb 13, 2016, 09:05 IST | Suprita Mitter

A Valentine's Day drama discusses modern-day relationships, allowing you to enter the script

The play titled I Love You, Let’s Have Sex, that made its debut in Mumbai last September, is back with round two. The interactive theatre piece produced by Delhi-based Barefoot Productions is devised and performed by three actors — Ashish Paliwal, Shena Gamat and Shivam Pradhan.

V-Day drama
(Above and below) The cast during an earlier performance in the city

"My partner and I saw many ups and downs in our relationship. At one point, we had reached our lowest low. My way of releasing that stress was to stay up all night and write the skeletal script of this play. A few months later, we were asked to perform at the Delhi Contemporary Arts Week and we didn’t have anything ready except this piece. By then, we had passed our slump and wanted to share the insights with people," shares Gamat. "Usually, we are good at laughing at ourselves and that’s the tone of the play. We did a lot of reading up online to give the script a more rounded approach rather than it just being a personal story," she adds.

Recognising the universality of the content, the actors find ways to interact with the audience directly leading to improvised involvement from the audience. The script twists and turns, deliberately blurring the lines between performer and audience. Explaining the need to improvise, Gamat shares, "I have been acting for 15 years. People watch, clap, enjoy the play and leave. I wanted more than that. We were anxious about the improvised bits initially because we didn’t know which way it would go. Since the play is about relationships, it made sense for us to make the journey with the audience."

One of the scenes has a character ask the other how he will love her in a particular situation. The character offers an unconvincing idea, which gets rejected. The question is then thrown open to the audience. "At our previous performances, we had people shout, ‘Don’t be silly, that idea will never work’," laughs Gamat, adding that they have performed at a community center too, where senior citizens were giving suggestions. The group hasn’t always been this lucky though, "At one of our performances we asked a couple to come on stage and no one did. We then requested our light man to step in on stage," Gamat reveals.

When quizzed about the in-your-face title, Gamat says, "The title is a line that the couple says to each other at the start and end of the play. A lot more happens in between, though. We liked the sound of it. When we started promoting it, people said, ‘It has the word sex in it’ and didn’t take us seriously. It also gives people the impression that it’s a sex comedy, which it isn’t. But we chose to go with it. At some venues, the organisers asked us to change the name of the play, which we refused to do," she concludes before going back to the last few days of rehearsal ahead of the performance.

On February 14, 7 pm
At blueFROG, Mathuradas Mill Compound, Lower Parel.
Call 97731 09304
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