Unique play explores love in the time of barriers
Three actors portraying Muslim men from different parts of the world talk about their experiences of attraction, technology and Islamophobia
Three men walk into a bar. One's a Palestinian actor, the second is a British youth, and the third is a terror suspect of Pakistani origin. And they're here to tell you their stories.
The three characters are part of Love, Bombs and Apples, a play directed by Akarsh Khurana, which will be staged at a Lower Parel restaurant this weekend. The funny yet poignant play has been written by Iraqi playwright Hassan Abdulrazzak, and looks at the issues facing Muslim communities around the world through a series of monologues.
A relatable tale
Khurana is a fan of Abdulrazzak's work, and had earlier brought to life another of his scripts, Baghdad Wedding. "After it ran its course, we were looking for new material, for which I was constantly in touch with Hassan. He had written another play about the uprising in Egypt, but I felt Indian audiences wouldn't be able to relate to it. That's when he sent over the script for Love, Bombs and Apples," he says.
The first monologue, Love, features Khurana's brother Adhaar, and sees him playing a Palestinian actor who encounters a British woman one night, and realises there's more to English girls than sex appeal. The second story, Bombs, is about a Pakistani author whose novel, written from the point of view of a terrorist, gets him thrown in prison; the third tale, Apples, is about a guy from Bradford who is obsessed with his iPhone and reveals how terrorists use phones to communicate.
A fourth monologue, Landing Strip, was left out of the play for the Indian production. "It was too topical and political for our audiences. While the other three monologues also delve into politics, at their core, the subjects are more relatable," says Khurana.
Adhaar, who has worked with his older brother in several of their productions, says he was thrilled to play the role of the Palestinian. "His tale is told in an interesting manner. His world may be alien to us, but his situation is not. The beauty of Hassan's writing is that it not only makes you laugh, it also leaves you thinking," he says.
Khurana believes that pieces like this work better in a more intimate setting, rather than in an auditorium housing hundreds.
"I'm a huge supporter of alternative performance venues. In fact, I also curate plays for The Cuckoo Club in Bandra and Brewbot in Andheri West," he says. "Even the Fringe Festival, which we started in December 2015 and where Love, Bombs and Apples debuted, was about plays that could be staged at intimate venues."
He adds that these new venues take away the stress that come with staging bigger productions — figuring out lights, acoustics, and mega-sized sets. Here, it's all about content. "It comes with its own set of shortcomings, but it also allows us a lot of flexibility. Moreover, this shift to fuss-free set-ups is enabling new groups to enter the theatre space. As curator, I notice there are two or three new groups that pop up every time we host an event."
ON: July 26, 7.30 pm to 9.10 pm
AT: Cafe Zoe, Mathuradas Mills Compound, Senapati Bapat Marg, Lower Parel.
COST: Rs 1,180
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