The Race Course turns into a stage

Mar 07, 2016, 08:35 IST | Krutika Behrawala

Starting today, you can catch some of the biggest plays and acts under the sky at the second edition of Prithvi's open-air theatre festival 

Apart from the stage props, a moonlit sky, night calls of the birds, a gentle breeze and a few traffic snarls also formed part of Makarand Deshpande's production, Sir Sir Sarla presented at the debut edition of Prithvi@theTurf last year. "The play needs an intimate setting but the ambience changed the mood and added a realistic element," shares the writer-director, now geared to present Ansh's Miss Beautiful at the second edition of the festival. Scheduled to take place over a week at a pop-up amphitheatre at the green-carpeted Mahalaxmi Race Course, the festival will feature English and Hindi plays, a children's play and a music performance by the neo-Folk band, Neeraj Arya's Kabir Café. "The response that we received last year was superb. The amphitheatre and the location lent a special energy to the experience," says Kunal Kapoor, trustee, Prithvi Theatre that has previously presented Theatre at Horniman Circle too.

A staging of Mere Piya Gaye Rangoon at the festival last year
A staging of Mere Piya Gaye Rangoon at the festival last year

Exploring spaces
With a capacity to hold a crowd of more than 300, the open-air setup will witness a performance every evening. Ira Dubey, who will take over the stage for 80 minutes in her solo play, 9 Parts Of Desire, says, "Performing outdoors has its own charm. Over a decade ago, my mother's (Lillete Dubey) production, Jaya, a larger-than-life Rock musical based on Mahabharata, was presented at Horniman Circle. "

Mahalaxmi Race Course

However, an open-air setup comes with its own challenges. "The play's lighting has to be set up the previous night, post the evening performance. So, it's almost like a 24-hour job," shares Kapoor. Performing in such a stage isn't a cakewalk. Dubey says, "Being a one-woman show, the play worked beautifully in smaller spaces but I am excited and nervous about performing in this setup. Going against my grain, I will be using a lapel mic because I believe that every word of my dialogue should be heard and understood. In this case, I am also putting on Iraqi, English and American accents." However, Dubey adds that "the good thing about the piece is that it's a simple production, with costume changes that can easily happen right the behind stage or on it too."

Undeterred by the traffic sounds that could hamper a performance, Deshpande doles out an advice, "The key is to have better concentration and involve the audience too."

Dates Today, till March 12
At Mahalaxmi Race Course.
For tickets, log on to

What to catch

March 7 (7.30 pm): Miss Beautiful (Makarand Deshpande)
March 8 (7.30 pm): Nothing Like Lear (Rajat Kapoor)
March 9 (7.30 pm): 9 Parts Of Desire (Lillete Dubey)

Beastly Tales

March 10 (7.30 pm): Beastly Tales (Naseeruddin Shah)
March 11 (7.30 pm): Stories In A Song (Sunil Shanbag)
March 12 (2 pm): Krishna Kidding (Tejjas, children’s play) and a performance by Neeraj Arya’s Kabir Café (8 pm)

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