A toast to the city life

Wednesday, 16 April 2014 - 7:00am IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: dna

Lillette Dubey's next directorial venture is based on an intelligent take on metros by Girish Karnad

After their last successful stint together in Wedding Album, Girish Karnad and Lillette Dubey are back with their latest collaboration Boiled Beans On Toast. Anyone who has read Karnad would know that his simple yet comprehensive style of writing has the ability to speak much in fewer words: An extension of the author's personality maybe? And Dubey needs no introduction when it comes to theatre and arts. She has already proved her acting skills in many movies – both Bollywood and Hollywood – as well. "Wedding Album has performed nearly 200 shows around the world to much critical and popular praise. I am sure this play too would have a very successful stint, hopefully more than out last venture together," Dubey says.

The play, the book
Karnad's new play, a contemporary Chekovian comic drama, examines various aspects of a changing India, through an examination of the several Indias that coexist in a city like Bangalore. Boiled Beans on Toast traces the interwoven lives of half-a-dozen people who have opted to live in the city of Bangalore. They are very different from each other, belonging to widely divergent social strata, and from widely separated geographical corners. Starting from under a single roof, these lives branch out in diverse directions, get entangled in the swirl of life outside where they lose track of themselves, separate or unexpectedly collide and careen off each other. "The city is Bangalore, but anyone familiar with life in a modern Indian megalopolis will instantly respond to this portrayal of urban aspirations, conflict, blind groping and violence," she says.

Odd characters
"I was supposed to start working on this play much earlier. Unfortunately, I got busy in other productions so we couldn't do it earlier," says Dubey who is only directing the play and not acting as "she has to travel a lot and it would be difficult for her to stay here." Already the play has 21 characters essayed by nine actors. Dubey says that with BBOT, Karnad moves into new space. "Till now his plays had mythology, legends and history in the background be it Yayati, Tughlaq or rakt Kalyan, but this is different. This new kind of space, however, has the same intelligence, satire and humour which Karnad's works genrally have," she adds.

Already a success
"The Marathi version, in which the play is based in Pune, opened last year and has already received much critical praise, and the English version will bring this wonderful script to a larger national and international audience," informs Dubey. A look at the hopes and aspirations, the attitudes and foibles, the strengths and weaknesses of a variety of people from different economic backgrounds, giving us a searing and endearing picture of life in a modern metropolis as seen under a microscope.

When and where: April 20 at Tata Theatre, NCPA from 7 pm onwards

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