The Sound of Music is poised to return on stage with new faces
Incidentally, in the previous production where Delna Modi was Maria, Mistry played one of the nuns
Arunoday Singh and Meher Mistry match steps during rehearsals in Khar. Pic/Suresh Karkera
Eight years after it was last staged in the city, Ace Productions' The Sound of Music is poised for a return, this time with a brand new cast and a fresh treatment. Director Advait Hazarat has "lived with the production" for 10 years now. This production he calls a "reimagination" that has been made possible with the fresh faces. Arunoday Singh, after his first musical turn in Imaad Shah's The Threepenny Opera, is set to repeat the experience in this one, thereby stepping into the shoes of Dalip Tahil in the role of Captain Georg von Trapp. Playing his love interest, Maria, is Meher Mistry, who we last saw in The Beauty And The Beast. Incidentally, in the previous production where Delna Modi was Maria, Mistry played one of the nuns.
Advait Hazarkar (centre) explains a scene
The cast is not the only new thing this time. The production has done away with sets completely and will be using huge LED screens as background. "They have been happening in Broadway, West End, and even in Mumbai. We thought it would make for an interesting device — it can transport us to wherever we want. We did away with the grand set we had — the big house and the abbey. However, that was a tricky thing to do. It takes some getting used to for the performers," says 37-year-old Hazarat, who recalls the film The Sound of Music to be a meal-time ritual ever since he was four.
For Singh too, it was the first film he saw as a child. "That was followed by The Jungle Book. Until this production, however, I had not revisited the film. My mum hums the songs and I like to sing them too. But, I am no trained singer," says the actor who had instantly agreed to do it, after Hazarat approached him. "Both my wife and mum were keen on it. I also wanted to savour the musical experience one more time after Threepenny. I had, however, never imagined I'd be playing a father of seven at my age," laughs the actor, adding, "The children were the most amused when they were told I'd be playing their father."
Hazarat first saw Singh in the play The Glass Menagerie at Prithvi. "It was such a small stage for a tall persona. He commanded the space. I wanted that in my captain. Meher, after seeing her in The Beauty and the Beast, was an obvious choice for Maria. What a voice she's got!" Working with the child actors was an altogether different experience for the director. "They are so well-read and aware, that you don't need to explain the subtext. They just pick up.
But, they are also a lot more distracted as opposed to how they were nine years ago. I have to take away their phones before each rehearsal. Keeping them on their feet and occupied is a task," Hazarat says. Over the years, the play has acquired many meanings for him that he hopes to translate on stage. "It's after all a musical set in the backdrop of the holocaust. So it certainly becomes deeper, and goes beyond a musical in that context."
When: 7.30 pm, February 23
Where: Tata Theare, NCPA, Nariman Point
Entry: Rs 500-Rs 6,500
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