The year’s best theatre

The Living Room. Photo courtesy Little Productions



The Old World Theatre Festival brings a collection of popular plays to Delhi, including Kalki Koechlin’s directorial debut- Chanpreet Khurana for Live mint 

When actor Corinne Jaber and writer-director Amir Nizar Zuabi opened Oh My Sweet Land in London’s Young Vic theatre in 2014, the number of Syrian refugees in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt was inching close to the three-million mark. The latest data shows that more than four million Syrians have fled the country since 2011. “The situation has evolved for the worse in the past year,” says Jaber on phone from Paris.

Oh My Sweet Land, which recounts the stories of the Syrian refugees whom Jaber and Zuabi met, will be performed in the National Capital Region from 14-16 October, as part of the 14th Old World Theatre Festival.

Organized annually by the Old World Theatre company which manages events at the India Habitat Centre (IHC) and Epicentre, Apparel House, the festival has a mix of popular plays from the past year as well as new productions by well-known directors. It opens today with Kalki Koechlin’s directorial debut, The Living Room, at the IHC and Rage Productions’ One On One—Part II at the Epicentre in Gurgaon, near Delhi.

The Living Room is about a woman who doesn’t want to die just yet and Death, who wants to experience life briefly. Actor Neil Bhoopalam, who plays the role of Death, says: “Death is a bit of a fool in this play. He wants to eat ginger cookies and crib about his job getting harder every day.”

One On One—Part II is, of course, the second instalment in the One On One series of short monologues. Rahul daCunha, one of seven directors who collaborated for One On One—Part II, says he likes to call the format, comprising 10- to 12-minute plays, “remote control theatre”. “An audience can enjoy one play and automatically switch channels to another one,” he says. A third play in the series is slated for release in December 2016.

One of the plays in the line-up—The God Of Carnage—was also staged in New Delhi and Mumbai as part of the Aadyam theatre initiative by the Aditya Birla Group earlier this year.

Among the more elaborate sets this year will be Mohammad Ali Baig’s Spaces, which will show the verandah of an old Hyderabad haveli as well as a Chicago apartment.

It’s Not Waht You Tihnk! and Ek Mulaqaat, with actors Deepti Naval and Shekhar Suman, are the other plays in the line-up. Ek Mulaqaat was staged in New Delhi last month.

The Old World Theatre Festival is on from 10-18 October. Timings and ticket prices vary. Click here for details.

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