Friday, August 12, 2011

WeMove Theatre’s Namma Metro

WeMove a theatre troupe formed in early 2010 comprises mainly youth in their twenties. They have so far staged eight plays and ‘Namma Metro' will be the ninth. One of their previous play was ‘Malgudi Daze', based on an adaptation of R K Narayan's Malgudi Days.

Their latest play ‘Namma Metro' is about life in Bangalore, a city that has changed rapidly due to globalization and urbanization, but still retains bits of old charm. The play revolves around the lives of 4 people who symbolize a cross-section of society living in Bangalore – an old man with communist leanings, a twenty-something techie who is a sculptor, a bank clerk who believes in astrology and a peanut seller who dreams of winning a lottery.

The play opens in a unique style, presenting the characters as ordinary people amongst us we see daily in our lives. A chance meeting of the four on a bench under the shade of a tree, eventually leads to sharing their personal lives detailing their struggles for survival.

Suresh, employed as a bank clerk, works hard to meet his wife's materialistic demands, is unable to come to terms with his daughter's aspirations of becoming a model. The young software techie who aspires to become a sculptor is forced to forego her dreams by an over bearing mother whose sole aim is to get her married off to a guy settled abroad. The peanut seller who recently lost his wife and child in a flyover collapse is fighting to get compensation money from the corrupt government official. The old man talk about his descent in his faith in the Left thanks to a mysterious young man.

The title, 'Namma Metro'chosen for the play works on different levels. It is indeed the story of our metro city, Bangalore. But the play on the words, and its link to the Namma Metro project, becomes obvious at the end of the play. The play ends engaging the audience to think of their own lives as they watch the drama of the ordinary people unfold on stage, agreeing rather implicitly the changing lifestyle of Bangaloreans.

The narrator comments that the characters in the play, though all of them were living in Bangalore, were so engrossed with their lives that they never went a step ahead and thought about how the city they were living in affected their lives. Much like the city's Metro work, the characters' too lived a ‘life in progress'.

Though the characterization appears to be very “typical”, they are certainly endearing, and the audience connects to them very well. Sometimes the characters surprise the audience with their knowledge of what is deemed as ‘not their domain’. On probing deeper, the stereotypes fade away.
The play is a mix of comedy and drama. With perfect co-ordination and flawless dialogue delivery, all roles endear the audience.The dialogues contain plenty of puns and alliterations in Kannada, adding to the amusement of the audience.

The soulful title song, Bengalooru Badalagu Chooru, is composed by Abhishek Narain with lyrics written by SriHarsha Grama and Abhijit Mahesh. The song is played between scenes to ensure that the play progresses at a fast pace and is closer to reality. The set designed by Hanu Ramsanjeev, makes use of the space intelligently. The centre stage is the meeting point for the characters, while the periphery is used by each character to narrate their stories. The play was written and directed by Abhishek Iyengar.

On Stage: Sri Harsha Grama, Rangaraj Bhatracharya, Nagashree D M, Hanu Ramsanjeev, Madhuvanthi G, Anup Shenoy, Srikanth Bhatracharya, Ranjan Sidappa and Divyashree.

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