Saturday, January 16, 2010

[SIC] - A funny catalogue of obsessions and mistakes

Sic is a Latin word meaning "thus", "so", "as such", or "in such a manner". The play performed at Rangashankara by the Dramanon troupe proved that having low expectations could have been more rewarding. (the handout said, the troupe "experiments with scripts with that elusive quality - spunk".)

Bringing together an aspiring auctioneer (Frank played by Nakul Bhalla), a struggling writer (Babette played by Sharanya Ramprakash who has also donned the director's hat) and a "amusement park ride theme music composer", (Theo played by Deepanjan Dey), [SIC] sets the stage for action right away. The audience warms up to these characters (even though as Indians, we seldom meet a struggling writer let alone an auctioneer or a theme ride music composer) because their lives are fragile and a little directionless. In this aspect, their existence mirrors faithfully the questions and choices, the youth of today confront.

There is a routine to the manner in which the characters interact with each other - this routine essentially captures the reality of the "quarter life crisis". The three friends brought together hilariously by a mutual acquaintance commit the same mistakes again and again - believe in their potential, at times with a sense of self -confidence and at times because they have hardly anything else to believe in, or seek refuge in. In relating to each other, they are mutually suspicious, distrustful, vain and funny, all the while retaining their vulnerable humanity and exposing it for exploitation.

The humor and the dialogues, not "indianized", are a little hard to relate to, but given the changing mores, when embracing every conceivable idea is more of a fashion, it is easier to laugh. Here, the performers resort to vainglorious pronouncements and repetition to inject humor.

The sexual connotations appear contrived and it is probably because they indeed are. There are sequences in the play which I wished had prolonged - for example, when Babette describes an instance when she happened to read a book over an old lady's shoulder until the lady dozed off. At times, the switches in the script appear abrupt and sudden serving to arouse interest and kindling bewilderment in equal measure. Theo's obsessive longing, Babette's optimism and Frank's despair provide the right mix to the performance.

The high point of the performance comes towards the end when the three performers come together in what can be described as either "an acknowledgment of their resignation to their own fates" or "a moment when they bare their souls clearly and unabashedly to the World". They try to make sense of the choices before them and ultimately proceed to reject everything. The interpretation is open to the viewer here.

The cast did a decent job. What stood out was their mockery of each other and their need for warmth and true comradeship.

Overall, this is not the best of the 3 plays I have seen at Rangashankara, but certainly one of its kind that I wouldn't regret having seen either! The title is creative and suits the script by somehow suggesting "in such a manner"!


$$ said...

You have mastered in writing reviews! :)

Shiva said...

Thanks so much Shalini. This has put me on cloud nine! :)