A Toast to City Life


Girish Karnad's latest play, Boiled Beans on Toast, is adapted and presented in Marathi as Uney Purey Shehar Ek.

The screeching sounds of a drilling machine at work in the nearby under-construction building fail to break the concentration of artistes rehearsing the intense climax scene of the play Uney Purey Sheher Ek.

A heated exchange between mother and son is followed by an emotional outburst. Director Mohit Takalkar observes the lines and expressions closely as the actors run the final few rehearsals before the play an adaptation of Girish Karnad's latest play Boiled Beans on Toast is staged.

Adapted by Pradeep Vaidya, the Marathi play will be performed as part of the fifth Annual Vinod Doshi Memorial Theatre Festival on March 1 at Yashwantrao Chavan Natya Sabhagruha, Kothrud. Incidentally, it is the first time that Karnad's play originally written in Kannada as Benda Kaalu on Toast in November 2012 is being staged. Though the play's English version was released in December, it hasn't been staged so far in any other language.

"Although the original play addresses Bangalore as a city and Bangalorians, it can be the story of any other developing city like Pune, Hyderabad or Chandigarh. Unlike Mumbai, all these cities have evolved over a period of time. The play tells parallel stories of people staying together in the city," says Karnad, adding that he is looking forward to seeing the Marathi adaptation of his play. "Usually, after I watch a few productions of my plays, I rewrite them. For instance, the first copy of Tughlaq is very different from the present one," says Karnad, who will be in Pune on March 1. The play will be staged again on March 16 at Yashwantrao Chavan Natya Sabhagruha at 6 pm.

"Professor Satish Alekar told me that he had come across a Kannada play that I might like to stage. When I approached Girish Karnad, he was more than happy to mail me the soft copy of the English version," recalls Takalkar. However, when he opened the first page of the play and saw names and description of 25 characters, he wasn't sure if he would like to go ahead with such an experiment. "In all my previous plays, though the cast has been big, there were just four or five central characters. But here, the canvas is quite large. All the characters have well-defined roles and yet, no one is the protagonist. In fact, the city is the protagonist," he says.

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