Saturday, October 21, 2006

Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf

Night & Fog theatre group presented Edward Albee's "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" at Gyan Manch. Directed by Shubhayan Sengupta, the Albee play attracted an appreciative audience.
The two main actors, one of them being the director himself, did a great job in their characters. The roles weren't easy, and the actors brought out the conflict between them with elan. Shubhayan was really the standout performer in the play, and he portrayed the bitter professor George excellently.
The other two actors fell flat, though. This caused a great imbalance as there were two actors performing well and two failing completely to make any kind of impact on the audience. At times it was only the quality of the script which was carrying forward the play. A touch of nervousness could also be sensed in the actors, as there were quite a few occasions in the first act when they fumbled lines or delivered them too early.
The light could also have been used more effectively, as there were many times when crucial lines were delivered in partial darkness. These problems seemed prevalent more in the first act then in the second, when these glitches became rare.
The actors playing George and Martha managed to capture the emotion of their lines far better than their co-actors and thus it was a challenge for the audience to remain interested in the play. People kept leaving during the duration of the play, a clear indicator of the fact that the actors failed to grab the audience's attention.
In the end, it was a good play, but it could offer a lot more. The masterful script of Edward Albee really salvaged the production. Better acting would have made for a better staging of this play.

Monday, October 16, 2006

I've been really busy of late, and as such have had no time for the smaller pleasures that I greatly enjoy. A cup of coffee at CCD, posting my musings in blogs, making my point in an online debate, reading a good book, watching a good movies - these are all examples of small things that I greatly enjoy.
At times it does occur to me that I am taking on too many things, but then again I realise that this is really what I want to do. I love involving myself in plays in whatever capacity possible, I love the challenge of preparing my team for a debate with a good argument...and I also realise that if I didn't have all of this on my plate, I would be left with nothing to do with my time.
Lot of challenges coming up in the weeks ahead, and I'm looking forward to facing them.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

During the Pujas

There's nothing that compares to Kolkata during the Pujas. The whole city changes it's character, if only for the 4 days of the Puja. There's nothing to prepare you for the explosion of humanity at this time, when people throng the streets, the pavements, the buses, the metro and not to forget, the pandals.
I sometimes wonder where so many people go during the rest of the year. The sheer multitudes of people who can be seen in the city during this time simply disappear after the Pujas end. It's like the green insects who appear only for the time between the Durga and Kali Pujas - they simply vanish to reappear only the next festive season.
The Pujas have been a wonderful experience for me this year...I managed to fully enjoy it for the first time. Last year I wasn't in town around this time. I wouldn't let this opportunity slip.
I loved the pandals that had been beautifully constructed for the Pujas. 66 Pally, near Kalighat temple, was my personal favourite for the mindblowing mandap and pratima that had been created. Although placed in a very small lane, it really shone through in it's brilliant sight. Ballygunge Cultural and Samajsebi were great as ever, but a nearby pandal made of Horlicks bottles was excellent! Mudiali was pretty good, and Shibmandir did really well as it always does. Bosepukur Sitala Mandir was also excellently created.
The pujas are an expensive affair for every Bong, and I was no different. Despite having saved money on transportation by riding buses, I still managed to spend a whole lot on food, coke and the rides at Deshapriya Park, but it was well worth it. Hanging out with friends is a lot better during this time, because the festive spirit pervades the air.
It all ended on Dashami, with people out for one last look at the pandals and the idols. I was on the roadside watching the huge immersion processions go by, with people indulging in unbridled revelry. The dhaks, the kurkuris, the bands and the people dancing to their beat all made for a fantastic spectacle.
Durga Puja over, it was back to the daily grind for most of Kolkata, as the city slipped back into it's normal sober, philosophical air.